5 Indian MMA Prospects to Watch Out For

As Mixed Martial Arts continues to grow in India, here are five Indian MMA prospects who are making waves nationally and internationally.

“Gradually, I just moved towards martial arts then.”

Indian MMA is rapidly gaining recognition on the global stage, thanks to a growing pool of talented fighters who are making their mark in various international promotions.

Indian pioneers like Bharat Khandare and Manjit Kolekar have paved the way for the next generation of MMA fighters.

There is also a growth of MMA gyms in India, contributing to the talent pool.

As the sport continues to evolve in India, several fighters are emerging as notable prospects to watch out for.

These athletes are not only showcasing their skills but also inspiring a new generation of martial artists in the country.

Here, we highlight five Indian MMA prospects who are poised to make waves in the sport.

Puja Tomar

5 Indian MMA Prospects to Watch Out For - puja

Nicknamed ‘The Cyclone’, Puja Tomar is one of India’s hottest MMA prospects.

After growing up watching Jackie Chan films and studying his stunts, she used what she learnt on boys who bullied her sister.

She recalled: “It was just us three sisters… one of my sisters had a problem in her leg and I used to get really angry when somebody troubled or teased her for it.

“I had started beating up the boys for that.

“Growing up, I used to watch films starring Jackie Chan and I thought that I could learn some things from his stunts and execute them against these boys.

“Gradually, I just moved towards martial arts then.”

A five-time national wushu champion, Tomar also has a background in karate and taekwondo and won multiple medals in both disciplines.

Tomar found herself in ONE Championship but struggled.

She then began fighting in Matrix Fight Night and in November 2022, Tomar became the promotion’s inaugural Strawweight Champion.

With a record of 8-4, Tomar was signed by the UFC and will make her debut against Rayanne dos Santos on June 8, 2024.

Anshul Jubli

5 Indian MMA Prospects to Watch Out For - anshul

Anshul ‘The King of Lions’ Jubli is a rising star in Indian mixed martial arts.

Jubli stands out as the second Indian fighter to sign with the UFC, after Bharat Khandare, and the first to secure a victory in the premier organisation.

Jubli began his professional MMA career in 2019 and has quickly made a name for himself with a record of 7 wins and 1 loss.

His victories include two by knockout and one by submission.

Jubli’s biggest achievement came when he won the Road to UFC Season 1 Lightweight Tournament, defeating Jeka Saragih by TKO.

Before turning to MMA full-time, Jubli was a maths teacher and holds a Bachelor of Science degree.

His background and rapid ascent in MMA have made him a key figure in representing Indian fighters on the global stage.

Jubli’s fighting style is a blend of striking and grappling, with his favourite techniques being the right cross and single-leg takedown.

Competing in the lightweight division, Anshul Jubli made his UFC debut in October 2023 against Mike Breeden.

Jubli was comfortably on his way to securing a decision victory, however, an amazing comeback by Breeden resulted in the Indian fighter suffering a KO loss.

Despite the setback, Jubli still aspires to become the first Indian UFC champion.

Harsh Pandya

5 Indian MMA Prospects to Watch Out For - harsh

Although he is yet to turn pro, Harsh Pandya is already gaining a lot of attention.

He trains with Team Relentless in Mumbai under coach Jitendra Khare and has built a solid foundation in the sport through his amateur career.

Many of his victories have come in the GAMMA World MMA Championship.

Standing at 5’10” and competing in the flyweight division, Pandya’s fighting style is primarily focused on grappling, although he is also skilled in striking.

After victories over Brooklyn Lafuente and Gonzalo Montealegre, his first loss came against Yernaz Mussabek.

Pandya signed for the renowned PFL, competing in PFL MENA.

He made his debut on May 10, 2024, against Saudi Arabia’s Malik Basahel.

Although he lost the fight by unanimous decision, he continues to train and improve, looking forward to future opportunities to compete and succeed on the international stage.

Priya Sharma

5 Indian MMA Prospects to Watch Out For - priya

Originally from Punjab, Priya Sharma has made significant strides in her MMA career, particularly in the strawweight division.

She boasts a professional record of 5-1, showcasing her skills and determination across various promotions.

Sharma transitioned to MMA after achieving success in Judo and Muay Thai.

Her training has taken her all over the world, including a stint at the renowned Fairtex Fight Club in Thailand.

Sharma’s recent bouts have showcased her versatility. For example, her grappling was on full display in her win over Ireni Oliveira at SFT Combat 43 in Brazil.

She has trained in Brazil with the likes of UFC strawweight contender Amanda Ribas, adding more facets to her overall skill set.

As Priya continues to compete and build her career, she remains an Indian MMA prospect to watch out for.

She has a chance to display her skills on the world stage because she signed a UFC contract.

Priya Sharma will face China’s Dong Huaxiang in the opening round of Road to UFC Season 3, which takes place on May 18, 2024.

Chungreng Koren

Known as ‘The Indian Rhino’, Chungreng Koren is a rising star from Manipur.

Initially a wrestler, Koren transitioned to MMA after facing numerous setbacks in his wrestling career, including financial struggles and a lack of opportunities.

Koren’s MMA journey began when he joined the Koi Combat Academy in Bengaluru, receiving support from fellow Manipuri fighter Roshan Mainam.

This period was a turning point, as Koren honed his skills and began to compete in various local promotions.

With a 5-1 record, Koren’s biggest wins have taken place at India’s Matrix Fight Night (MFN), one of India’s premier MMA promotions.

In March 2024, he won the interim MFN Bantamweight championship, dismantling veteran Mohammed Farhad in four rounds.

After winning the belt, Koren appealed to Narendra Modi to address Manipur’s ongoing violence and humanitarian crisis.

While his heartfelt appeal went viral, the moment also marked Chungreng’s emergence as one of India’s standout MMA fighters.

Reacting to the title win, Koren said: “Brother, I worked so hard and overcame so much to be here now. Now, I feel like I’m finding my way in this sport.

“Although this win is a turning point in my life, I’m only getting started.”

“When I recently went back home, I was so happy and surprised to see people greet me at the airport.

“My village came out to celebrate my success. Watching all this really warmed my heart. Now, I’m back in Delhi-NCR to help my teammates at Warrior’s Cove prepare for their fights.”

The rise of Indian MMA is an exciting development for the global mixed martial arts community, showcasing the depth of talent emerging from the subcontinent.

These five prospects represent the future of Indian MMA, each bringing unique skills and determination to the cage.

As these fighters continue to compete and grow, they are not only paving the way for future generations of Indian martial artists but also elevating the sport’s profile in India and beyond.

Keep an eye on these athletes as they strive for greatness and contribute to the ever-expanding legacy of Indian MMA.

Dhiren is a News & Content Editor who loves all things football. He also has a passion for gaming and watching films. His motto is to "Live life one day at a time".

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