Agilan “Alligator” Thani is the latest athlete to leave family and friends behind to travel halfway around the world in a quest to take his martial arts skills to the next level.
The Malaysian hero has flown more than 15,000 kilometers from his home in Kuala Lumpur to Florida, USA, to train at an elite gym that has already taken a pair of ONE World Champions to new heights.
At Sanford MMA – formerly known as Hard Knocks 365 – the welterweight contender has teamed up with ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, two-division ONE World Champion Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang, and their coaches as he attempts to improve and earn another shot at the gold in his division.
“I’m really thankful for this chance to travel to the United States and work alongside the likes of Henri (Hooft, coach), Martin, Aung La N Sang, and all the top athletes that train there,” the 24-year-old says.
“I’ll make the most of this experience. I just want to get better, and I believe this is a good way to do so. I’m taking one step at a time to find what works the best for me, and how I can further improve from there.”
One of the things that is motivating Thani is the recent influx of talent in his weight class in The Home Of Martial Arts.
Following “Alligator’s” latest win – a unanimous decision against Dante Schiro in December – the likes of Raimond Magomedaliev and Murad Ramazanov have made impressive debuts on the global stage, while old rival Yoshihiro “Sexy Yama” Akiyama got back in the hunt with a spectacular KO.
Plus, Thani’s former opponent Kiamrian “Brazen” Abbasov is now World Champion, so he hopes to be able to be more than a match for his peers as to work toward redemption, as well as the gold.
“By the looks of it, the [welterweight division] is turning out to be more active like other divisions, and as always, I just want to be part of that action too,” he adds.