Top 5 MMA fighters of Indian descent
These combatants may fight under a different flag, but they still cherish the fighting spirit of India.
As per some popular theories, it was the Indian saint Bodhidharma who took Kalaripayattu (Indian martial arts) from the southern Indian state of Kerala and introduced it in Shaolin temple, which set the ball rolling for the evolution of martial arts.
It is an ancient storyline and is questionable. But it was not just Bodhidharma who immigrated from the Indian subcontinent to other parts of the world.
The Indian diaspora is ubiquitous, and some of them have trained in world-class training facilities across the globe and have forged themselves into modern-day fight machines.
These combatants may fight under a different flag, but they still cherish the fighting spirit of India and have developed a fan base in India.
This list comprises of five such high-level MMA fighters who are of Indian descent.
#5 Sasha Sharma
Sascha Nitin Sharma is officially the first MMA fighter of Indian origin to compete at The Ultimate Fighter.
The TUF vet hails from Germany but has Indian roots, and was born to an Indian father and a German mother.
Most of us remember Sasha from the TUF 22 footage where Conor McGregor gets angry at him for not listening to his corner and taking the fight to the ground.
Sasha represented Team Conor in TUF 22 and was not paying attention to Conor's instruction to fight on his feet, which pissed off the Irishman.
He lost that fight against Chris Gruetzemacher (Team Faber) via unanimous decision and had to leave the ultimate fighter.
Later in an interview, Sasha said, Conor was right but he took the fight to the ground due to his shoulder injury which stopped him from clinching efficiently.
Sasha Sharma is a brown belt under Oliver Maier in the Xande Ribero style of jiu-jitsu.
He last bout was against Abdul Azim Badakhshi of Afganistan, which he lost via KO (knees) in the semi-finals of Season 2 of Super Fight League
Sasha is proud of India's culture and heritage and believes that India has a greater role to play in world MMA.