Indian MMA star Mahboob Khan wants to emulate Khabib, working hard and smart to achieve his dream

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Mohammed Mahboob khan is an Indian amateur MMA fighter who has participated in IMMAF | WMMAA World Amateur MMA Championship. Mahboob Khan Mohammed made history for India in 2018, achieving the nation’s first-ever World Championships gold medal.

At the age of 20, he joined Team India in Bahrain at the 2018 IMMAF | WMMAA Unified World Championships, competing in the junior men’s strawweight division, exclusively for athletes age category 18-20.

Making his debut on the international amateur platform, Mahboob was no doubt considered as an underdog in the division with standouts from decorated nations like Kazakhstan and Bulgaria starting as strong favourites to win the gold medal.

Mahboob dispelled any such notion without delay, against Kazakhstan’s Yerlun Kabdulov, taking just 76-seconds to eliminate one of the division favourites with a first-round guillotine choke submission.

All preconceived expectations for the junior strawweight were turned upside down at the semi-final stage. Mahboob had booked his place in the final while Bahrain’s own Ebrahim Darwish produced a unanimous decision triumph over Bulgaria’s Radostin Angelov.

Mahboob took his moment of the World Championships finals, once again finishing his opponent in the opening round. Shortly following the 90-second mark, a step-in left hook created the opening for Mahboob to follow with an overhand right knocking Darwish to the canvas for a KO stoppage and securing the gold medal. Mahboob subsequently became India’s first athlete nominated for the International Amateur MMA Awards.

Mahboob also participated in the 2019 World Amateur MMA Championship. Mahboob defeated Troy Fumo of Australia in a unanimous decision. This gave Indian fans a lot of hope going forward as nine fighters had already lost their fight and bowed out of the tournament. However, bad luck gripped the Indian side, as Mehboob was disqualified earlier today by the officials in Bahrain after he failed to make the strawweight limit of 115lbs.

While talking to MMA India Show, Mahboob Khan talks about his win in 2018 and his misfortune at the 2019 world championship and some important lessons he has learned throughout his MMA journey.

Mahboob was asked about his current practice session and the challenges he is facing while training during the global pandemic.

“The training is coming back to normal how it used to be not the same as it used to be but my team is trying their best and working hard. I have lots of training partners who are national-level champions who help me a lot and I also share my experience with them. All my training partners help me a lot and during these times when people are scared to go out, it’s hard to get training partners. Still, lots of MMA fighters are training we are taking all necessary precautions and working hard towards our goals as we won’t get this much time to prepare once the world comes back on track.”

“I am focused to improve my wrestling as it is the most important aspect of the fight game. Many fighters that I fought at the world championship had an amazing wrestling background though I managed to knock them and win those matches I realized that I needed to focus on my wrestling.

Mahboob also talked about his win at the 2018 IMMAF | WMMAA Unified World Championships.

“That was my first time travelling outside India and that too for a World championship. Honestly, I was very nervous. The entire process of travelling and reporting their, weigh-ins everything was quite time-consuming and I was focusing on weight cutting because the stakes were high. I did my best at the weight cutting process and everything went proper according to the plan. The fights were awesome I enjoyed every bit of it. I was nervous as I mentioned before but once you get in the ring either you perform good or you lose there’s nothing in between. Thanks to Allah. He blessed me and my coaches who made me work hard and all these years of hard work that victory was the result of  my hard work over all these years.”

Mahboob also talked about weight cutting mishap that resulted in disqualification at the 2019 world championship.

“2019 World Amateur MMA Championship was a big event for me where I had worked really hard. But Allah had some different plans for me. I even struggled during the weight cutting at the 2018 event but I managed to pull it off in time. This time in 2019 the luck didn’t favor me as I faced an issue with my sauna in my hotel. It didn’t open in time which made my cutting process slow and messed my entire preparation. I made weight and missed the weight by 0.2lbs. I would have made weight if the commission had allowed me few extra minutes but they declined as they had strict rules, along with me more than 11 fighters were disqualified.”

“ The level of competition I faced at the world level was an amazing experience. There is so much to learn from those 2 events of my life. That really made me realize that I need to focus on my wrestling. Because you know those guys from Russia, Bahrain, Kazakhstan are so good in wrestling which made me work hard in my game. I made some very important changes and I’m working on it and will show them in my future matches.”

Mahboob talked about how he started doing MMA and what his plans look like.

“I’ll have to thank my friend who had an interest in MMA. Till that point, all I knew was WWE and nothing else. He once took me to see MMA fights one day and nothing happened their all they did was explained some MMA ruled and I got bored and scolded my friend that not to take me next time for all this. A few days later in of the grounds, one of our gym seniors was teaching some guys striking and then we enquired him, he suggested to us our GYM. Then I and my friend started going to practice. I still remember seeing Brock Lesnar getting beat up and cut badly by Cain in UFC, after that I was like I also want to be that good.”

“I don’t think about what’s ahead of mine. That’s done my coach Shaikh Khalid of Hyderabad MMA gym. All I focus on is my training. I admire Khabib a lot. He’s also from an unknown place. He just became soo good that the world started knowing him. That’s what I believe in is smart work plus hard work. You should not ignore your weakness but at the same time grind your strengths. Just be so good that you’ll always win. Believe in your god and just keep grinding and get better.”

He also shared a message to the young fighter who dream of becoming professional fighters.

“Damn. It’s hard for me to give a message to young kids I’m myself learning. But all I can say it’s a long journey and definitely not an easy one. Learn to balance your life between training and your other stuff. There’s a long road ahead you gotta push harder and there will time come when you’ll feel like giving up but that’s the point where you have to push more and go ahead. That’s where you get stronger.

“I don’t want to scare someone but I,m just showing the reality. It’s not all show as shown. Everybody wants to be Conor Mcgregor and Khabib but it’s a totally different level. If you naturally gifted in the sport it’s different for you but for most of us, we have worked hard at everything. There’s no support from the government for MMA athletes. That part is another different issue what can I say about it… I just want to say to all young fighters that work hard, practice, eat good, take rest as said ‘live to fight another day’ motivate yourself, your training partners, and just believe in yourself that’s the key factor.”

“If talking about a technical tip to young fighters, just focus on wrestling and boxing properly. In the fight game, everyone is scared of a dominating wrestler and an amazing boxer. Those are two important skills to possess. You do that be good at and it and then you the most feared guy in your division. That’s all I can say hard work and confidence.”

Mahboob Khan is now getting ready to fight, once the global pandemic gets over he’ll be back making India proud at the world level.


MMA India Exclusive: Coach reacts as Mahboob Khan is disqualified at World Amateur MMA Championships for missing weight


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