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EXCLUSIVE: Roshan Mainam talks his ONE Debut, Indian MMA, Ritu Phogat and more

Renjith Ravindran
Calendar Icon05 November 2019

ONE Championship: Masters of Fate will be a special event for MMA fans in India as it will see the ONE Championship debut of Roshan Mainam. The 23-year-old will be fighting Khon Sichan at the event and the excitement surrounding the fight is at an all time high.

Roshan’s journey towards this milestone moment has been nothing short of extraordinary. From his early struggles in Manipur, to his wrestling days in Delhi and then his time in KOI Combat Academy with his mentor Vishal Seigell, it has been a roller-coaster ride.

While all these chapters contributed big time to where Roshan is now, what changed his life upside down was his signing with EVOLVE MMA.

Roshan, who managed to impress the Evolve Coaches with his skills during the tryouts, was signed up by the gym almost a year back. And training in Evolve has been a big learning experience for the Indian.

“It’s been a great experience. The people who train BJJ here are black belts and brown belts and we have World Champions in Muay-Thai and undefeated fighters in MMA. I have been training with them for eight months and it’s been so good to train with them. I’m also getting a chance to learn a lot of things from them. We can learn a lot at Evolve,” he said.

One of the biggest differences at EVOLVE for Roshan has been the fight camp. He has been training for the past eight weeks for the fight compared to his starting days where he used to fight without even training properly.

“My Fight camp has been going on for the past eight weeks. It’s the first time that I’m going into a fight with such a good camp. During my initial days, I even used to fight without any proper training. But here, the camp starts from eight, nine or even ten weeks out of the fight. I’m feeling good about the preperations and fighting plans that we have done,”

And in-between the eight-week fight camp, he also had some time to scout his opponent and make a possible game plan that could fetch him a win.

“My Opponent has fought three fights; he has a win and two losses and has a boxing background. He could be having a better striking than me since I had a wrestling background. So for the eight months, I was been training in striking and BJJ and I will be able to do my best. And possibily, I will be looking for a finish in the first or second round,”

Eventhough getting the win is easier said than done, Roshan is driven by a bigger purpose.

“This fight is has big importance for me and probably the future of MMA in India. For me, winning the fight is very important as I could provide some form of inspiration for the upcoming MMA fighters from India. I will be giving my best to win the fight and I will be doing well,”

A week after Roshan makes his debut, his fellow EVOLVE teammate and Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist Ritu Phogat will be making her ONE championship debut.

“She will be debuting in Beijing and she has the wrestling background as we all know. And for the past six to eight months, she has been training with us at Evolve. Her BJJ defense and control has become so good and she is also getting training in striking and striking defense. She will be doing good in her debut and maybe we can expect a ground and pound or referee stoppage as she has the skills to take her opponent down and utilize her wrestling background,”

With names like Roshan, Ritu and Rahul Raju fighting in November alone, the rise of Indian fighters in ONE Championship is something worth cheering. But at the same time, Roshan feels that the fighters in India need more support. He noted that Indian MMA can go places if the fighters are given a good support as it serves as a motivation for them.

“The popularity of MMA is growing fast in the World but it is still not getting the exposure that it deserves in India. Things are changing now, but still, the sport deserves more exposure. If the public and the associations out there support fighters that can do well, then Indian MMA will go to a different level. We will have to keep aside all the politics and support the fighters that can do well. If there are no MMA fighters from India on the top, the amount of respect that we get outside also goes down. I mean, not many people consider Indian fighters to be strong. We will have to change that and if everyone supports, the fighters will get the motivation to not to give up and keep going. I just want to give this message to everyone out there,"

And supporting our fighters is what we should do.

BONUS: Roshan Mainam on his Walkout Song

“I will be walking out to the title song of Sultan Movie because Sultan movie was a good inspiration. It showed what MMA was to the Indian audience and we are able to explain the sport to people by referring to the Sultan Movie.  And when I hear the song, some feeling pokes up in my heart and that’s why I chose the song,”

ALSO READ: Discussions ongoing for event in India in 2020, Says ONE Championship CEO


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