Mixed Martial Arts is a growing sport in India. Despite the negativity that’s been spewed all over, there isn’t much debate about the immense potential that India holds.
The lack of knowledge about the sport is indeed one of the biggest problems that the Indian MMA scene is facing now. The atmosphere we have in the country is light years away from the one that exists in countries like the United States and Brazil; where the sport has flourished.
Amidst all these hurdles, the fighters have showcased dedication and hard work to make their mark internationally and it’s time that they got the limelight that they deserve. In this list, we are going to take a look at some of the most notable Indian MMA fighters out there. (In no particular order)
Honorable Mention: Chaitanya Gavali
Chaitanya Gavali was one of the most active Indian MMA fighters of 2016. He had two fights this year with one win and one loss. Like most of the other fighters in the list, Gavali made his start with Super Fight League and then moved on to various other promotions.
His current record stands at 6-3 with a good portion of his wins coming up against foreign opponents. Gavali currently fights out of Evolution MMA which is known for fighters like Sunny Khatri, Mohammed Farhad and others.
Honourable Mention: Jason Ramesh Solomon
Jason Ramesh Solomon turned out to be a viral sensation when the video of him getting knocked out received eyeballs on Social Media. While most of the fans out there would only recognise him through the video, the talent that he has is often overlooked.
Solomon has 4 wins to his name with all of them coming via finishes.
The knockout that went viral is his only loss till now and the next time he fights, he is sure to evoke interest among the fans.
#10 Dhruv Chaudhary
One of the mainstays of Super Fight League, Dhruv Chaudhary is currently busy preparing for the upcoming season of the Fight League. He currently holds a record of 7-4 and he made his entry into the MMA world after excelling in Wushu and Kickboxing.
It was the reality show; SFL Challengers that made Dhruv turn into MMA.
He would soon go on to fight in the Super Fight League and make an impact there. Dhruv had fought in The Cedar Force earlier in 2016 and suffered a defeat via submission against Georges Bardawil.
Also a trainer at Cult-The Workstation, Dhruv would be looking to make a comeback when he fights in the Super Fight League.
#9 Govind Ale
Govind Ale is yet another fighter that came up through the ranks thanks to Super Fight League.
The Flyweight fighter from Uttarakhand is 5-1 in his career now with his only loss coming up against Dhruv Chaudhary, who we saw in the last slide. The loss, however, came at Bantamweight and Govind still has a perfect record when it comes to fighting in the flyweight division.
His last fight came in the late part of 2015 and he would be more than eager to get back into the Octagon once again. Just like Dhruv, Govind also works as a trainer in Cult.
#8 Abdul Muneer
Currently signed to Brave Combat Federation, Abdul Muneer went head to head with former UFC star Masio Fullen during the first fight night of Brave.
Despite a first-round TKO loss, Muneer did rattle Fullen and made the world notice that Indian fighters could give a tough time to people who have UFC experience to showcase on their resume.
Muneer is expected to make his return in Brave sometime next year and he will be looking to bounce back from his defeat. He currently holds a record of 6-2 with a good portion of his wins coming in Super Fight League. In fact, Muneer is undefeated in the SFL.
#7 Rajinder Singh Meena
Rajinder Singh Meena is yet another fighter that has gone on to make a mark internationally.
A former champion in the Super Fight League, Meena has two fights in the ONE Fighting Championship under his belt. Though he suffered losses in both of them, landing fights with the promotion is indeed a big deal.
He is currently 8-3 in his career and has expressed his interest in turning into coaching while taking his fighting career forward parallelly. He made his professional debut in Full Contact Championship and had a memorable stay in the Super Fight League as well.
#6 Nelson Paes
Arguably the most popular MMA fighter from Goa, Nelson Paes is currently on a three-fight winning streak.
The latest success story of Nelson came at the Desert Force 20 where he defeated Khudoum Al Kaabi. The fight went down on the home soil of Kaabi; in turn making the win even sweeter. Nelson is still involved with Desert Force and is expected to fight there next year as well.
Apart from this, he has also fought in Super Fight League in the early parts of his career and went on to make his mark in Combat Cage Fighting where he secured two wins. He has now opened a new gym in Goa where he plans to train the next generation of MMA fighters.
#5 Gurdarshan Mangat
An Indian- Canadian fighter, Gurdarshan Mangat hails from the Tristar Gym which is known for greats like Georges St-Pierre, Rory MacDonald, and many others. Gurdarshan has the experience of fighting in various promotions like Battlefield Fight League, Super Fight League and now, Brave Combat Federation.
He was one of the major attractions of the second fight night of Brave where he secured a win over Troy Bantiag and made the world notice. Gurdarshan is currently 9-1 in his career and clearly has a long road ahead of him.
With his new association with Brave, 2017 could turn out to be a breakout year for Gurdarshan.
#4 Priyanka Jeet Toshi
Priyanka Jeet Toshi was one of those fighters that came up through the reality show, SFL Contenders. But it was ONE Fighting Championship that helped Priyanka. Priyanka fought four fights in ONE FC, which is more than any other Indian fighter out there.
Competing at such a high level on a constant basis is enough to show that Priyanka belongs in the elite list of Indian MMA stars. She is currently 3-3 in her career and has one win in ONE FC as well. Her latest outing came in September 2016 where she suffered a defeat to the highly rated Jenny Huang at ONE Championship – Unbreakable Warriors.
#3 Mohammed Farhad
The first fight night of Brave Combat Federation boasted three Indian fighters. While all of them impressed, it was Mohammed Farhad that got the only win.
He got the better of his opponent Badre-Eddine and came home with a second round TKO win. With the win, Farhad took his record to 8-2. Before Brave, Farhad was a force to reckon with in the Super Fight League as well.
He is also known for making an appearance in the film Baaghi where he featured alongside his friend and actor Tiger Shroff. With the momentum that he has, it would be a good idea to keep an eye on him next year.
#2 Manjit Kolekar
In 2016, Manjit Kolekar became the first ever Indian fighter to fight in the Invicta Fighting Championship. She faced Brazilian veteran Kaline Medeiros at Invicta FC 19 and pushed Kaline to a decision despite having an injured hand.
Before facing Kaline, Manjit had built up an undefeated nine-fight streak. Her performance against Kaline, however, had won hearts and she reportedly has a multi-fight deal with Invicta meaning that we could see Manjit scale new heights next year.
She was also the winner of the reality show SFL Contenders and went on to have a dominant run in the Super Fight League as well. Manjit currently fights out of Super Fit Combat gym in Mumbai.
#1 Bharat Kandare
One of the most notable names in Indian MMA, Bharat Kandare was the reason why a lot of the Indian fighters took up MMA. After suffering a defeat in his debut, Bharat went on to get five wins in a row and with every fight, he showed huge improvements.
He is undefeated in the Super Fight League and is currently busy training at one of the most notable gyms in the world, the Jackson-Wink MMA Academy. Bharat has not fought in a couple of years but with the new skills that he has developed, his return to the MMA scene is much-awaited.
Did we miss out anyone? Let us know in the comments section.
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