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Indian MMA fighter Ganesh Raj talks his career, future goals, benefits of MMA

LockerRoom Team
27 October 2022

Ganesh Raj has been a force to reckon with in the Indian MMA circuit for some time now. Hailing from Tamil Nadu, Ganesh is a former National champion and has some big plans for his future.

We had the opportunity to catch up with the young MMA star last year and talk about his combat sports journey.

Introduction to Combat Sports

Ganesh began his combat sports journey during his school days and started off with Karate - “I like boxing since childhood, I have done karate in my schooling. I asked my mom I wanted to join boxing classes or something kind of but she was afraid of that. ”

His MMA journey began when he joined Combat Kinetics in Chennai. He was introduced to Combat Kinetics and MMA by his friend from school. Speaking about how he joined CK, Ganesh told us - “My friend from school, he was doing MMA in Combat Kinetics. I don’t know like more idea about MMA. I had idea about boxing and kickboxing. So I asked him about MMA and about the background of MMA and all and I joined in CK Valasaravakkam, there was a branch before”.

Speaking about his introduction to MMA and UFC Ganesh also stated that he used to watch WWE and that he sometimes came across UFC in the same channel but he wasn’t interested in UFC. After he started training and gained some knowledge about the sport that is when he started following UFC.

About his love for grappling

Ganesh initially didn’t have any idea regarding Grappling and MMA and it was a very new concept to him, but after getting to know the sport better his fondness for grappling grew. Here is what he had to say -

“Grappling and MMA I don’t have like, I have an idea about wrestling because in India in North side wrestling is very good right. I don’t have idea about grappling, so it was like hugging and rolling I don’t have any idea about that. After learning certain techniques, I loved that and it was like a good art form. In MMA I love grappling.”

Family’s Reaction

Speaking about his family’s reaction Ganesh said that his mother never used to see his matches in starting stages and that even if he had won the match his mother would feel sorry for the opponent and asks Ganesh not to show her any more videos as she felt it was really brutal.

Experience at Combat Kinetics & Memories of his first fight

Talking about his experience at Combat Kinetics Ganesh stated that he had a good atmosphere around him and that his colleagues socialised with him and made him feel like home.

“When I first joined I had a good atmosphere around me, my friends, my colleagues, my team mates socialised with the new person and So I felt like home. I started with the basics and my coaches took me well in a good path way.”

Ganesh fought his first fight in 2018 in Bangalore. He lost his first fight but considers it as his best experience.

“My first fight was in 2018 in Bangalore. I lost my first fight. But I had a great experience in that fight. So Whatever can happen bad in the fight it happened so that was like best experience”

Speaking about the camp for his first fight Ganesh said - “Initially I was training in other branch so I came to Nungambakkam and I started training with Lenin Prakash, he was leading the camp. Lenin Prakash and Kaushik they both were leading the camp. The camp went well. ”

On his most memorable moment

Speaking about his most memorable moment, Ganesh shared an anecdote about an incident involving an injury.

“The most memorable moment means, once i got injured, i got injured badly in eye while sparring. At that time like after I go home my training partners give the punishments for others that was very fun part on that day. My training partner Vijay while sparring he gone into hard punch. So basically when we train in the gym when we do technical sparring and all we will go very light on face that is the rules we follow in every gym. Most MMA gyms they follow the same thing. So while technical sparring if you go hard its like against the rules right. So he got punishments like hitting hard on the body, body shots and leg kicks and that was so fun and learning experience for him.”

About the discipline that comes with the Sport

Ganesh mentioned that the sport has helped him become more disciplined and punctual. It has made him more confident and also said that it helps him to defend himself in society

“After starting MMA in Combat Kinetics especially, they follow a good discipline and punctuality I liked that very much. So that changed inside me. So whenever I go for some other place I’ll be on time always. If they say like 12 ‘O’ clock I’ll be like before like 10 mins. Because they practice here the same. So we have the training time like 10:30 am morning  we have to be here by atleast 10:15am. So we follow the punctuality.

By learning MMA and Boxing I get confident by self defence so I can able to defend myself in a normal society or something.”

His advice to youngsters

Speaking about his advice to youngsters, Ganesh said “Many people like they don’t have idea about MMA right. They think about brutal sport. It’s totally opposite of that. So MMA is like a beautiful art. If you learn it you will feel it, the art. So don’t listen about anything what you heard. Get into this and learn and you’ll get to know more about MMA.”

Future Goals

Talking about his future goals, Ganesh mentioned that he hopes to turn pro in UFC and that he will turn pro according to his coach Ajit Sigamani.

What do you think about Ganesh Raj’s journey? Let us know in the comments below.


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