The Singaporean superstar has developed into a well-rounded competitor through years of cross-training with the elite team at Evolve, and that means he can compete at any range with the best in the world.
His grappling, in particular, has come on leaps and bounds since he debuted as a teenager, and his defensive wrestling could be the cornerstone of his strategy against his Turkish opponent in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix semifinal this Friday, 17 May.
Amir Khan Ansari could be just one KO away from the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix finals! ????Singapore | 17 May | 5:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Facebook: Prelims LIVE | Twitter: Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19
Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, May 14, 2019
However, when it comes to his offensive game plan, Khan still leans on his excellent Muay Thai. For all the knockout power that “Dagi” has displayed, on paper, his rival has the edge in the stand-up thanks to more than a decade honing his striking skills.
“The art of eight limbs” arms the 24-year-old with his most dangerous weapons, which have powered him to more knockouts than any competitor in the history of ONE Championship. It is also responsible for his introduction to his profession, and his world-class mindset in the ONE Circle.
Khan was just 13 years old when he discovered the ancient Thai martial art through DVDs his father bought to watch with his son.
Its diversity held a strong appeal at a time when there were not many options to train mixed martial arts in his homeland.
“When I saw Muay Thai and the competitions, it just looked deadly compared to everything else,” Khan says.
“When I was first just training, I saw boxing videos and taekwondo videos, [but they] didn’t really attract me as much as Muay Thai.
“You have more freedom. You can kick, you can punch, you can elbow, and you can knee.”
Amir Khan Ansari doesn't dream about success. He works for it! ????Singapore | 17 May | 5:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Facebook: Prelims LIVE | Twitter: Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19
Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, May 13, 2019
Though he thought it was a long shot that he would be able to emulate his heroes by competing in front of a global audience, he began training.
His experiences practicing in the gym exceeded his high expectations, and after just a few months learning on the job, he was ready to enter the ring for his first amateur bout.
“I just knew that’s where I belonged. The gym felt like home. I felt happy when I trained,” Khan says.
“I didn’t know I wanted to do it as a career, but I knew I wanted to keep on pursuing it. I wanted to be good at this. It’s something I felt I could be good at it. Within six months, I got my first fight.
“Whether my coaches thought I was ready or not, I put my mind to it, and I will do it. My coach didn’t want me to fight after six months, but I kind of told him that I would win, 100 percent, and had to reassure him 100 times.”
Khan made good on his promise and won, which gave him even more motivation to pursue a life as a martial artist.
Over time, however, Khan started to thirst for more freedom in his training and explore mixed martial arts.
Before Amir Khan Ansari takes on "Dagi" Arslanaliev on 17 May as part of the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix, relive every win in his ONE run thus far! ????Singapore | 17 May | 5:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19
Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, May 12, 2019
“I did a lot of good things [in Muay Thai], but after a while, I kind of felt like I wanted to do more,” Khan explains.
“I felt a bit restricted. In Muay Thai, you can only fight on the feet. I wanted more freedom. I wanted to explore more martial arts. I just like to keep exploring and exploring. I don’t like to stick to one style.”
Although Khan is still strongest when he is on his feet, he prefers not to describe himself as just a striker – he insists he is a mixed martial artist because of his ever-improving range of skills.
However, he does not deny that his early experiences in “the art of eight limbs” were pivotal for giving him the warrior’s mindset he takes into battle, and that will be essential when he faces the dangerous “Dagi” at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
“Because of this, I have the confidence, and because of my confidence, I’m not afraid to get hit,” Khan says.
“It’s because of the Muay Thai background that I’m able to stand in front of someone and kind of keep my poker face. I don’t feel the pain. I don’t ever worry if someone is going to take my head off. I don’t have that fear in me.
“Muay Thai was my first love. Now I’m a mixed martial artist.”