Siddharth Chandanshive is a rising Indian lightweight MMA fighter. Standing with a record of 5 wins and 1 loss, the Mumbaikar has managed to get his name among the best Indian MMA fighters. All his five wins come by stoppage, with 2 knockouts and 3 submissions. In his last fight he avenged his sole loss from Mukesh Gora by forcing him to tap out to a vicious arm-triangle choke.
He had the golden opportunity to visit one of the best gyms in the world Jackson-Wink. He trained over there for over six months as a part of a program conducted by the UFC to help Indian MMA grow and I recently caught up with him to get his thoughts on the experience and what he sees as the future for the sport in his home country.
MMA is not a very popular sport in India. How did you come to know about it? What is your background in the combat sport world?
I started as a wrestler. Wrestling is a popular sport in our country, this was followed by Judo. I have competed in judo and karate at state level. I came to know about MMA through Bharat Kandare. The seniors back at our gyms would compete in MMA fights and it was through them that I learnt of it. As someone who has competed in many unarmed combat sports, MMA was the best option for me.
How was your experience at Jackson-Wink? How was it different from your training in India?
Training at Jackson-Wink was one of the best experiences I have ever had since taking MMA as a career. The atmosphere, people, approach, training, everything was different. The coaches over there were very helpful and shared various techniques which helped us learn a lot. In India we have all the equipments and the resources to train a fighter but we do not have the coaches which have the experience and skills which they had back there in Jackson-Wink. “Ek ache mali ho to bagicha zarur sundar lage ga” … If the gardener is good the garden shall bloom, this is the situation of Jackson-Wink, they have super coaches and a very good environment, hence fighters over there deliver when they enter in a cage to fight.
When you decided to take MMA as a career were people around you supportive?
Yes, my parents always encouraged participation in sports. The people around me have been very supportive. It is because of their support and their faith in my talent is the reason why I stand as the person who I am.
You have fought in some big promotions like SFL, you have managed to create a great resume, do you think you are ready for UFC or you will be taking a fair few fights out of UFC?
No, I will not go for a fight immediately in the UFC. UFC is a place where the best fighters from across the world come and champions from different promotions come over there. I have learnt a lot in Jackson-Wink, I have to learn how to implement these skills in an actual fight. Hence I will be going for a few fights out of UFC and then try my hands at that promotion.
What are your thoughts on MMA in India? Do you think it can be as successful as other sports?
MMA in India is at its very inception. Apart from cricket people do not actually follow any sport in this country. You have to attract them with star power and a decorated athlete. Take a look at boxing, people didn’t really watch boxing but as Vijender Singh gained popularity people have started following boxing. Same goes for wrestling as Sushil Kumar gained popularity people looked at wrestling and started considering it as a great sport. MMA is a sport which will attract huge attention if it is marketed in a good way and people can understand how it is different from other sports.
What was the best part of training in Jackson-Wink?
The best part about training at Jackson-Wink was the helping nature of both the coaches as well as athletes. Over there people helped each other develop skills and improve your performance. Everybody, starting from the decorated former bantamweight champion Holly Holm to coaches, was humble and kind. They taught me a lot of things.
Siddharth thank you for your time. He is fighting next in October stay tuned for more updates.