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Anshul Jubli: Story of the Uttarkashi Boy that dreams to conquer the MMA World

Renjith Ravindran
11 December 2020

It was at some part of 2019 that Anshul Jubli almost gave up on Mixed Martial Arts.

Following thirteen impressive wins in the amateur circuit, Anshul had two huge fights cancelled which left him heartbroken. For one fight, he even borrowed money from his friends so that he could represent the nation on foreign soil and bring back the title. Despite the roadblock, he hung in there and said to himself ‘It cannot be worse than this'. A few months later, he got an offer from Matrix Fight Night.

Growing up in India

Anshul’s childhood was not rooted in a particular place. His father was in the Border Security Force (BSF) and this meant that every three years, they had to shift from one city to the other. Delhi, Punjab, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Bengal, all became home for Anshul whose hometown is in Uttarakhand.

Growing up, he had a lot of pounds on him which made him a target for the bullies till his sixth grade. This is what basically drove Anshul into sports. He had an impression that he had to do sports in order to stay fit and started his sporting journey with football and volleyball while also loving mathematics which he also taught kids.

With his urge to represent the nation at an epitome and inspired by the diary of Bhagat Singh, Anshul decided to pursue the Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE) at the age of 17 and it was during his preparation for this exam that he came across Combat Sports.

Starting his journey in Combat Sports

It was at a gym near his hometown that he took his first MMA class. Anshul was immediately hooked. Although some of his friends travelled to Nashik to train, Anshul stayed put in order to pursue the CDSE exams, but it was only a matter of time before he fully emerged into the world of Mixed Martial Arts.

He binged on tonnes of video content and improved his knowledge about the sport. And one fine day, he decided to go to Delhi with his friend and take a trial class at Crosstrain Fight Club.

“I was dead, I think I rolled around 10 rounds and I was dead. I was rolling and everyone was tapping me out. I did not understand what was going on. I was like “F**K how technical”. I had not trained Jiu-Jitsu prior to that. So after the first day, I came back home completely exhausted and decided that this is what I wanted and I was not going to give up. I was ready to give my blood, sweat, time, and money to this and was ready to make all the sacrifices for the sport,” he recalls the experience of his first class.

Anshul’s career in Amateur MMA took off from there.  

His run in Amateur MMA

Across a span of four years, Anshul piled up a record of 13-0 in the Amateur MMA circuit. While the first seven fights came in the first three years, his remaining six fights happened in just a span of six months as he was getting more serious about the sport. He still sees Amateur MMA as something that moulds a fighter.

“Amateur is the toughest according to me. In one day, there could be two-three fights. If you win one fight and you get injured, imagine how it will feel if an official says that you have the next fight coming up soon. At times, it is helpful since it teaches you to manage your nerve since it feels like an event and not a fight. We learn a lot of things. At times, amateurs are not treated how they should be treated. I’m actually against it since this is the step to a professional journey. He doesn’t have any choice or opinion. But it is important as well so that we learn about the thing,” Anshul noted.

There is also one fight in particular that Anshul holds close to his heart.

“There was a fight in which everyone had doubted me. It was in Bangalore Open and it was the final and a lot of people told me that I cannot win the fight. I think my opponent was a foreigner who used to train in India and he was finishing all his fights in the first round. So everyone doubted me and I ended up finishing the fight in the second round. I was so happy and I got to prove that I have the talent and that I’m not on that level that most people think of”

It was after his 13th fight that an opportunity to fight abroad came knocking at his doors. It was the main event fight in the Philippines and Anshul was not going to let it slip by. He borrowed money from his friends and a friend of Crosstrain Fight Club Head coach Siddharth Singh was also arranged to corner Anshul at the event.

Everything seemed perfect till he was warming up at the arena for the fight.

“I was so excited about the fight and there was nothing bigger than representing my nation for me. A fighter goes through a lot of things while preparing for a fight. Weight cut, financial issues, I borrowed from my friends to get the flight, hotel, and everything. I was confident as well. I went there alone as well. I think Siddharth Sir had some friend who was going to corner me. And the fight was cancelled when I was warming up. The opponent was ready, the fight was ready and it was canceled due to some police issue and back to back two fights getting canceled for which I had prepared well. When I returned, I was so broken and even thought of giving up everything and thought of going back to Dehradun and prepare for some exams and teach students math,” he said.

The Call from Alan Fenandes

Anshul had borrowed nearly Rs. 1 Lakh from his friends for the fight which got cancelled in the Philippines. Though he thought of giving up, he said to himself: It cannot be worse than this.

“I thought, what could be worse than this. I could’ve gone back home and taught math and could have paid this back. It was the easy way out. I went back to training and said to myself that I will see what happens,” Anshul recalls.

Anshul started making efforts to get a spot on the Matrix Fight Night Amateur card. He constantly sent fight videos and messages to the promotion and the matchmakers and one day, he got a call from Alan Fenandes.

“One day, he called and asked me whether I was ready for a fight. I said yes, I’m ready to fight anyone at lightweight. He then asked me whether I was ready for Pro and I said yes and I just wanted an opportunity. I started training and I thought I was still going to fight amateur. And when I got the call saying that I will have to fight Sanjeet Budhwar. I was at Angad Bisht’s gym and I had told to all of them that Sanjeet was my favorite fighter and that he is a classy fighter whose wrestling and striking is good. I was complimenting him and when I got the message saying my opponent was Sanjeet, I called Alan sir back and confirmed that I wanted the fight. I was confident about my skills and hard work but added that I will have to ask Siddharth Sir, called Siddharth sir and after seeing the fight videos, he said, you can take, and said you can win it. I was so excited,” Anshul says.

The rest as they say is history. Anshul got a unanimous decision victory over Sanjeet Budhwar in his professional debut and went on to secure two more victories in Matrix Fight Night to emerge as one of the top fighters in the promotion.

Siddharth Singh and his Future goals

One of the most important figures in the MMA career of Anshul is Siddharth Singh who is the head coach of Crosstrain Fight Club. Anshul notes that he is inspired by Siddharth and hopes to make him proud one day.

“I’m inspired by the story of Siddharth Sir. He had a good job and a stable life in the United Kingdom. When I left everything and came I literally had nothing to lose. But he had everything, a great job for which he did so many studies and degrees. He had given half of his life for such a job and he left that job and decided to do what he wanted to do or what he loved to do. Hats off to that and from my heart I believe that he is passionate about MMA in India and Jiu-Jitsu in India and believe that he is working towards that. It is one of my dreams to make him proud as well,” Anshul said.

The best part about the story of Anshul perhaps is that it has only started. He is only a few fights into his professional MMA career and the future looks bright for him. He has big dreams and goals ahead.

“I want to represent my country on the World MMA map and I want to make good money out of the sport. And I want to stay healthy and injury-free. I want to be active so that I can fight around 6-7 fights every year. And when I retire from the sport, I have this feeling that I will look back and be proud of myself, and even if it doesn’t happen, I tried my best. I sacrificed a lot and I’m ready to sacrifice more for my career. Even when I applied for the army, I didn’t think about sitting in an office, I was thinking about cracking Para-commando, the thing is my dreams are not small. My dreams are pretty big and I’ll be working hard for them,”

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