Himanshu Kaushik is prepared to score the biggest victory of his career in his second ONE Championship appearance.
This is the biggest challenge in the 26-year-old mixed martial artist’s career, and he believes he is up to the task.
“I am very excited to fight with this great fighter,” the Dehli, India native says. “He is a former ONE World Title holder, [and fighting him] is a big achievement for me.”
Kaushik is known for his wushu-sanda background.
He is a seven-time Indian national champion and has compiled a 71-7 record in the sport.
In 2013, the Dehli Wushu Academy product transitioned to mixed martial arts, and won four of his first five bouts.
It was a frustrating bout for the Indian striker. He was not able to show the full extent of his abilities as he was forced to spend most of the match on his back.
Following that encounter, Kaushik took measures to remedy his lack of grappling skills.
“After the fight, I went directly to Phuket Top Team and started learning some BJJ to get better,” he explains.
“In sports, nobody loses – they win or they learn some good lessons, so that was a lesson for me. I keep that loss in my mind, and I started working on it. My family and friends helped me with this.
“I have closed the last chapter, and it’s time to start again.”
The Indian intends to author the new chapter of his career, beginning on 9 November, but he will have his hands full in Singapore.
Similar to Kaushik, Dejdamrong is an accomplished striker.
After a legendary Muay Thai career, which saw him become a three-division Lumpinee Stadium World Champion and amass an incredible 282-65-3 record, he successfully transitioned to mixed martial arts.
The Thai icon won his first six bouts, which included a win in the inaugural ONE Strawweight World Title match in May 2015.
Now working his way back to the top, he will engage in a tilt at ONE: HEART OF THE LION that poses an intriguing battle of strikers from different disciplines.
For Kaushik, this contest holds even more weight because he will test his skills against an icon he has admired for a long time.
“He is best in Muay Thai, and my best [strength] is sanda. We both are strikers, however, this time I am confident I can give my best,” the Indian says.
“Before this match-up, I watched his fights as a fan. But this time, I am looking at him as my opponent. On the other side, I have huge respect for him as a star fighter.”
“This time, I am fighting with a legend, and if I win, it’s a big achievement in my life.”
Although he looks up to the 38-year-old, Kaushik will not temper his search for a stoppage.
With his recent experience at Phuket Top Team in Dejdamrong’s homeland of Thailand, the Indian wushu juggernaut feels he has the skills necessary to defeat the Thai legend.
“I will do a sanda takedown, and then finish him with ground and pound,” he offers.
Should Kaushik achieve that result, it would be a dynamic start to this new chapter of his career.