Last week, the MMA India Show started an athlete profile series, where we interviewed Laishram Bidyachandra. The aim of this series is to bring you details about the unknown gems from Indian MMA from the North-Eastern part of the country. For this edition, we reached out to Yumnam Thoisana Singh.
The 22-year old hails from Thoubal village in Manipur and has a professional record of 1-0. He competes in the flyweight category. Prior to turning professional, he had two amateur bouts and he won both of them.
Thoisana is an extremely experienced Martial Artist, having competed in different forms of Combat Sports. He had competed at an extremely high level in Karate, Kickboxing, and Wushu. Rupendra Sharma, a local businessman from Imphal and an MMA enthusiast helped us in translating Thoisana’s thoughts to us from his native tongue.
1.) How did you get started in Martial Arts and tell us about your accolades?
I got started in the Martial Arts in 2011 in Kickboxing and in the same year, I secured a silver medal in the Nationals, and in 2013-14, I performed well and was able to secure a gold medal. In Karate, I secured a silver medal in 2012 nationals, and in the same year I was selected for an international championship and I secured a Gold medal. The international event took place in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
In Wushu, I secured a Silver medal in 2015 Nationals, and in 2017 I secured a Gold medal in the Khelo India tournament which took place in Andhra Pradesh.
2.) How was your transition to MMA? Was it an easy one for you?
In other forms of Martial Arts, there are certain restrictions. Like in Boxing, you can only use your fists or in Wrestling, you can only grapple. But in MMA there are no restrictions and we can mix it up. I can kick, punch, grapple, and do whatever I want inside the cage and I like it. So for me, the transition went smoothly.
3.) Which organization have you competed as a pro? What was your toughest fight to date?
I have competed thrice inside the cage, but as a professional, I have one-fight under my belt and that was in Chainaba season 2. Prior to that I competed twice as an amateur and won both my fights.
As far as the toughest fight is concerned, I haven’t had a tough fight yet. I haven’t faced any adversity inside the cage so far. On my pro debut, I defeated my opponent via guillotine submission in the first round. Even in the amateurs, I won my first fight via knockout and second fight via a unanimous decision.
4.) How did you get interested in MMA? Who do you train under?
While I have been doing Martial Arts for quite some time now, I fell in love with MMA after seeing Roshan Mainam. I hail from the same village as Roshan Mainam. The way Roshan has carried himself at the national and international stage is amazing. His journey from Manipur to ONE Championship is what inspired me as well.
Roshan is an inspiration for me and whenever he used to come for vacation he used to help me out. He helped me with my striking, grappling, and submission techniques. So I have learned a lot from him. I also want to say that I have been watching MMA way before Roshan started competing inside the cage, but his journey was a catalyst for me to pursue the sport as well.
As far as coaching is concerned, unfortunately, I am not able to afford a proper training camp. So I regularly talk to Roshan, who helps me out with techniques and the stuff I should be practicing.
5.) What do you do apart from MMA?
I help my family at the farm, I have to work at the farm for 7 to 8 hours every day to earn my living. It’s also one of the reasons, I am not able to come to the city for proper training.
6.) Considering that you don’t have a coach right now, is there a specific ceiling you’re trying to hit in MMA?
I want to take my career ahead step by step. I want to compete at the top level as far as MMA is concerned that is ONE Championship or maybe even UFC. However, I am aware of the fact that I can’t reach there directly, so given the opportunity, I would like to fight in Matrix Fight Night or a bigger promotion in India. This way I can earn a little bit of money as well and afford the diet and the training required to be a full-time fighter.
With that being said, in the next five years, I would like to see myself compete in UFC or ONE Championship. I believe that is my ceiling as far as MMA is concerned and my time will definitely come. However, it’s very important to have a proper coach and a training facility to reach the level I aspire to.
To give you an example of my ability during my fight in Chainaba 2, I was supposed to fight Isaac Kario’s fighter Tokho George. Isaac is one of the pioneers of Manipuri MMA and I was supposed to fight a guy trained under him. Me and Tokho George were supposed to fight in the 54 kg category and we both made weight. It’s important to note that George is an experienced fighter, but after seeing the size different the next day, he pulled out of the fight. I had put on quite some weight after making the prescribed 54 kg limit. He asked for a new opponent and we both ended up fighting different fighters.
7.) Has the lockdown imposed as a result or Coronavirus affected your training regimen?
No, as far as my training regimen is concerned, I am training regularly. As I said before, I have to work at the farm, but after I am done with that I make sure that I have 2 to 3 hours to train. I train to remain feet and although I don’t have a fight scheduled, I would like to get back into the cage, as soon as the opportunity arises.
8.) You’re from Manipur and Boxing is the most popular Martial Arts there, did at any point of time you ever thought about crossing over to the sweet science? Boxing is even supported heavily by the government and the Sports Authority of India.
Growing up in Manipur, boxing has always been popular here and for obvious reasons. Mary Kom, Suronjoy Singh, Devendro Singh, Dinko Singh are very popular names amongst the masses. Despite the popularity of the sport, I was never intrigued by it as my first love has always been Wushu and Karate.
Also, boxing is a very limited form of combat sports, and it’s one of the reasons I turned to MMA.
9.) Is there a particular MMA fighter that you look up to and try to emulate their fighting style inside the cage?
I am very much intrigued by Conor McGregor’s striking. The way he sets up his punches is something even I try to emulate. In grappling, I like to follow Khabib Nurmagomedov.