Ever since Agilan Thani was a teenager, he wanted to become a professional martial artist.
The “Alligator” was heavily influenced by martial arts films such as Donnie Yen’s “SPL: Sha Po Lang” as a teenager, and at the age of 16, he kickstarted both his martial arts and weight loss journeys at Monarchy MMA.
Two years later, the gym’s owner Samir Mrabet offered him a job at the gym in addition to his training, so the “Alligator” started doing everything possible to continue on his career path.
Then one day, while performing his chores, he found his greatest inspiration, and the love of his life.
He met his future girlfriend Amy Chia, who not only supported his hopes to pursue martial arts as a profession, but she actually encouraged him to do whatever he loves most in the world.
“I was just doing a cleaning job at Monarchy, and that is where I met my girlfriend. As my amateur career continued, I fell in love with her, and she fell in love with me,” the 22-year-old explains.
“I did my best to make more money so we could start a life together. We got an apartment, and now we are here. We have been so strong. She is the only person who has always been supportive of whatever I am doing. Until this day, I do all this crazy stuff, and no matter what I say, she will say, ’Let’s do it!’”
Having that support system around him has meant everything to the “Alligator,” and it has been crucial to his success in ONE Championship.
Chia is by Thani’s side no matter what. There is no denying that the martial arts journey can be filled with the highest of highs, and sometimes the lowest of lows. Despite what happens to the Malaysian welterweight, however, he knows that his girlfriend will be there to celebrate with him in victory, or comfort him in defeat.
“It is very important in my career,” he begins.
“From the day that I met my girlfriend until now, I only think about one person, which is my girlfriend, because she believes in me. As long as she believes in me, I will do anything to make my dreams become possible.”
The relationship between Thani and his girlfriend goes much deeper than just falling in love and starting a life together.
Chia is not only Thani’s biggest fan and supporter, but she is also the person who keeps him on track with his training and preparation. In addition to that, she also serves as one of his cornermen whenever he steps inside the ONE cage.
“She is always in my corner,” Thani continues. “She is right there backstage, and in the corner, every time.”
The Malaysian welterweight claims his girlfriend has to be critical of him from time to time during his training, but that only fuels their relationship. By offering him advice, it only shows that she is just as invested in his success as he is.
Also, impressing Chia by winning does not hurt either.
“It is always a good chemistry,” Thani says.
“You always need good vibes around you when you compete, and there is no better person to be there for you than the one that you love. You will compete because you have to show off in front of her.”
His girlfriend is not only a coach at the gym, but she also keeps him on track at home with his health and nutrition. For instance, when he feels like cheating on his diet with a big event just days away, like ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY, she will stop him in his tracks and prevent him from doing so.
Although it is tough love, Thani would not have it any other way.
“I am always trying not to diet too much or mess around, and she will be like, ‘You know you have to make weight, if you screw up now, you are going to suffer later.’ She will be up in my face. I am like, ‘Why are you doing this to me now,’” he says with a chuckle.
“She does not let me get away with anything.”
That will ultimately be a good thing, as it will allow the “Alligator” to perform at his best on event night.
Thani returns to action on Friday, 9 March at ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY, where he meets SFL Welterweight Champion Amitesh “Hitman” Chaubey at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and you can bet Chia will be right there in his corner, like she has always been.