Roshan Mainam managed to fulfill a lifelong dream in 2020. He didn’t achieve everything he wanted to inside the cage but the Indian flyweight was able to open a gym in his hometown.

It means young people in Thoubal, a small town in Manipur, will have the opportunity to follow in Mainam’s footsteps by pursuing their MMA ambitions,

“I had dreamed of opening a gym in my hometown in 2020 so that I could provide a platform for the young athletes there. Even though it was not easy due to the pandemic, I fulfilled that dream.”

But Mainam admits it was a frustrating year. He was forced to take a break from training during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic,

“I could not do much for three to four months. I used to go out for some running and light workouts, but I could not take part in group workouts.”

Good opponent

Things started to return to normal in the second half of the year,

“I started my training around June or July. I worked on my striking after that, and it has improved a lot since then.”

The Indian faced Peng Shuai Liu at ONE: ‘Reign of Dynasties’. While he would like to have fought more frequently Mainam was pleased to score his second win for the promotion at the expense of a solid opponent,

“I got just one match in last year and that was against a very good opponent. I couldn’t train much, but I still managed to win.”

Quality training

He is part of the fight team at Evolve MMA. Mainam comes from a wrestling background but has been working on some other areas of his game in Singapore,

“My striking was not that great (and) I liked to take the game to the ground but if you want to be a great athlete, you have to work on all kinds of skills.”

It is rare for Indian fighters to get access to the quality of training which Mainam receives at Evolve MMA. Coaches come from all over the world and there are specialists in boxing, Muay Thai, BJJ and wrestling as well as MMA.

Right mindset

It means Mainam, alongside compatriot Ritu Phogat, can evolve far faster as a martial artist than he would have done in his native India. He fully intends to make the most of this opportunity in 2021,

“I think with hard work and the right mindset, you can become great. I have worked a lot on my striking and would like to continue doing the same in the future. My focus this year will be on my striking and BJJ.”

He has won two fights out of two for ONE Championship but has yet to face a top tier opponent. Mainam wants to change all that in 2021 and is hoping to get an opportunity to test himself against the fighters in the upper echelons of the division.

“I dream of fighting the top-level fighters. I have to work hard to get there. If I get the opportunity, I will do my best to reach the top.”