Gary Mangat says friendship with Roshan Mainam is on hold at ONE: ‘Dangal’
The event, which is being broadcast on May 15th, pits the two flyweights together in matchup that Mangat admits he was not expecting,
“I’ve known Roshan for quite some time. We trained together in India. He is one of the kids I speak to quite a bit. I told him that he has a bright future in the game. I told him to join Evolve MMA. I told him, ‘do what you are doing, keep working hard’. It is crazy that our paths aligned this way, but here we are.”
By his own admission Mainam was not a well rounded fighter when he first started competing in his native India. Mangat was part of a contingent of second generation Indians flown in from overseas to compete on the Super Fight League cards.
Mangat knows his opponent will have been working on his weaknesses since joining Evolve MMA but believes he is much more of an all round mixed martial artist,
“I think he has good wrestling, but I am still better. I am much more well-versed. It is a good opportunity for him. The pressure’s on me, but I will be ready for everything.”
Too much pressure
“I put too much pressure on myself, I burnt myself out in camp, and, mentally, I checked out when I needed to be checked in (but) my work ethic is still the same and I still keep the same formula.”
Interestingly this fight is taking place at a weight very close to the bantamweight limit. It means both men will be a little heavier than they normally are come fight night.
With three wins out of three for ONE Championship Mainam is close to cracking the top five in the flyweight division, assuming this catchweight contest is a one off. Mangat is nine years his senior and believes his opponent has plenty of potential,
“He has a bright future ahead of him, but this fight might be a bad matchup for him at this point in his career. He took it, he wanted this opportunity, and I am here in Singapore.”
Mangat has won two fights out of three for ONE Championship but has faced two former title challengers during this run. Both Reece McLaren and Toni Tauru had challenged Bibiano Fernandes while his other opponent, Abro Fernandes, was a former One Pride MMA 135lbs champion.
By contrast the fighters Mainam has beaten during his ONE Championship stint did not have particularly impressive resumes or records. Mangat feels there is a gulf between him and his opponent and he believes the younger man is going to sense it as soon as the bell sounds.
With his 15-3 record Mangat feels he is the elite fighter and plans to expose Mainam’s lack of experience at ONE: ‘Dangal’
“I think he is going to realize the difference between (being at) the top and working towards it.”