Following an impressive start to his mixed martial arts career, the Indonesian met Cambodia’s Khon Sichan in March, and was outworked by the Kun Khmer specialist. He lost the bout via split decision, and suffered his first professional loss.
“My cardio was not good,” he admits.
“I got tired during the second round, so I tried to knock him out. It did not work.”
It was a rude awakening for the young athlete, who realized he must change some of his habits to succeed. The 25-year-old is a social and fun-loving guy, and enjoys going out. However, too many late nights crept into his training regime, and his stamina suffered when it counted.
The Indonesian acknowledges he needs to be more disciplined if he wants to achieve more success in ONE Championship, and earn the highest honors.
“I decided to be more serious about my training,” he says.
“I need take better care of my diet and training. Sometimes, I am not in the mood. I come home late, and I do not train as hard. I have to take care of my body. I have to be more like an adult than a kid.”
Fortunately, “King Kong” has some people looking out for him.
Don Carlo-Clauss, his head coach, is encouraging him to train harder, and to run more.
Umar’s running mate is none other than Stefer Rahardian, who will make his strawweight debut at ONE: GRIT & GLORY in Jakarta this weekend. The Indonesian martial arts star’s 8-0 record is a perfect example of what can be achieved with the right dedication, and he accompanies his teammate for daily 40-minute runs to the beach in Bali’s Canggu neighborhood.
Wrestling practice and takedowns are a big focus of Umar’s time in the gym. Because most of his training partners are larger than him, he has to work harder, but that means he will be more than prepared for opponents in his weight class.
“There are only three guys on the team who are my size. The bigger guys make me try harder,” Umar says. “It is good for me because I am always trying to beat them.”
All of that preparation has been essential for his upcoming contest this weekend.
“King Kong” will need to have a balanced game when he meets Birawa, a debutant from Solo, Indonesia, who trains out of the Han Fighting Academy.
Since Birawa is making his professional debut, there is little video available for Umar and his coaches to study. Nonetheless, he is hoping he can turn this match into a stand-up battle, and unload his arsenal of Muay Thai-inspired strikes.
“I hope the fight focuses more on striking,” Umar states. “I like throwing punches and kicks. And if I have to take him down, then I will take him down.”
Umar’s goal is to become the world champion, and in order to accomplish that feat, he knows he must remain dedicated to his training. He receievd the message from his last bout loud and clear and has learned from it, adding: “I have to win.”