Siyar Bahadurzada is a UFC veteran and a former Shooto middleweight champion. After retiring from competition last year, the 37 year old has now established himself as the head coach at Evolve MMA.

It’s been a fruitful month for the Singapore-based gym, with two of their most beloved and longest-serving coaches racking up important wins in the ONE Championship circle.

Brazil’s Alex Silva scored a unanimous decision at ONE: ‘Battleground’ Part II against Miao Li Tao, while Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke delivered an epic knockout against Banma Duoji at ONE: ‘Battleground’ part III.

Bahadurzada could not be more proud of his new charges.

“I really enjoyed and loved Alex Silva’s and Dejdamrong’s fights. They are special athletes and they have achieved so much. For them to find that motivation to go into a training camp and to fight these young lions and to come out victorious, it’s super inspiring for everyone, including myself, the athletes in the Evolve fight team, and even for their respective countries and their fans worldwide,” he told

Time management

He thinks the results were particularly impressive given that the two veterans have to combine their fight camps with their coaching commitments,

“On top of that, they’re also full-time world champion coaches at Evolve MMA, and yet, find time to train and perform at the highest level in the world. It inspired me to get back into training the next day, I love watching them compete,” he added.

Bahadurzada was still fighting in the UFC as recently as September 2019. Seeing his fellow Evolve coaches still thriving in competition despite both being older than him may have tempted a lot of fighters to come out of retirement.

For now though, the Afghanistan-born striker insists he’s focused exclusively on teaching,

“As of now, there’s no urge to make a comeback,” he says.

Main priority

Bahadurzada explains that he is too busy with his coaching commitments to consider competing himself,

“If I focus on coming back, then I’ll lack focus for the Evolve fight team and that’s my priority right now. When I moved to Singapore, I promised Evolve I will not think about fighting as long as I’m coaching. The athletes depend on me and it wouldn’t be fair for their careers to split my time between me and them. I want to make sure they succeed,” Bahadurzada continued.

Nicknamed ‘The Great’, Bahadurzada competed all over the world and amassed a record of 24-8-1. Naturally, there will always be that itch to step into the circle himself, but he says he’s found a deeper satisfaction in coaching,

“To be honest, I miss fighting. I inspired a lot of people back home in Afghanistan through fighting,” he said.

“However, I have also inspired people through my athletes winning fights. If you look at it that way, it’s as fulfilling as fighting myself, but something extra too.”

Living vicariously

He says that coaching allows him to live vicariously through his fighters and he gets to enjoy winning far more frequently than you ever could in a solo own career,

“I’ve had four or five athletes fighting in the same day on the same card, and when they come out victorious, I feel the same satisfaction, if not more. When you fight and win, you only get the emotion once. But I feel it with every athlete’s win. It’s special,” he added.