Gurdarshan “Saint Lion” Mangat may be one of the newest additions to the ONE Championship roster, but he brings plenty of veteran experience to the cage.
The 32-year-old, who trains out of Xtreme Couture and 10th Planet Las Vegas in the United States, is the top pound-for-pound Indian mixed martial artist in the world.
A Battlefield Fight League Featherweight Champion, he holds a stellar professional record of 13-2 and plans to build upon that remarkable slate this coming Friday, 8 March.
Before he enters the cage, Mangat talks about his opponent, his values, and his responsibility to represent India on the global stage for martial arts.
ONE Championship: How does it feel to have signed with ONE?
Gurdarshan Mangat: It feels amazing, and it is amazing to see the response from everybody as well.
Obviously, when we start [this journey], we all want to make it to the big show, and to see what ONE is becoming among the MMA landscape is amazing. There are guys like “Mighty Mouse” [Demetrious Johnson], Eddie Alvarez, and Bibiano [Fernandes] — those are some top-level dudes.
ONE is highly respected with everything they’ve got going on, and this is where I’ll be able to represent the 1.3 billion people in India. Also, ONE aligns with the values that I hold.
I can be the humble guy I am, I can be the passionate warrior I am, and I can represent the Indian values that have carried me this far. I get to be the strong, ferocious lion that I was raised to be, and it was raised from my heritage. I get to inspire all the Indian people and everybody else that follows along. That’s what makes this so exciting.
View this post on Instagram
When you got @onechampionship Flyweight ???????????????? and @onechampionship Vice President /Womens MMA Pioneer @mieshatate in the same room ???????? . What she has done for Womens MMA is ground breaking and played a huge role in why womens MMA is so respected and so competitive today. How she has broken barriers is how I hope to break barriers on the biggest stage now. To represent the underdog, the one who was told “he couldnt” and also to show not the just the Indian people, but anyone looking for that example, that no matter your background, your upbringing, whether you were privledged, gifted or not, all is impossible with just your own simple belief that you hold deep inside of you. Years back , i didnt think i could reach these positions and now I get upset at myself for ever doubting I couldnt. But that is the struggle of our mind we face on the daily, the devil and the angel in our mind and heart thats a lifelong test as you face new challenges. ???????? #WeareOne #onechampionship #OneWarrior
ONE: What does it mean to represent India on the global stage?
GS: It means everything. It’s why I made the sacrifices to be out here. It’s why I invested so much into this training camp. I have not taken any shortcuts.
This has been my most expensive camp — from nutritionists to training, to training partners, to trainers, to flights going back and forth between Vancouver and Las Vegas. [My coach] Jeremy Kennedy and I are heading to Thailand to acclimate. All these little things help me. I’ve always tried to be one step ahead, despite not knowing what my opponent is doing.
There is a term we use — money in the bank. It’s like you’re depositing every single day. I don’t know how much my opponent has deposited, but I feel like I’m way over. I’ve deposited every single possible thing I can into this training camp because I am representing so many people, and I take that very seriously.
It’s something that I have to carry with great pressure and great responsibility, and I have to put in the work behind the scenes where no one is even watching because I’m carrying a lot of people.
View this post on Instagram
Way of life…First you must make your mind limitless…then your body becomes limitless…But to work toward the strength of breaking mental boundaries you must challenge your mind daily and your body will follow.Whether you are a fighter, dancer, yogi, jiu jitsu practitioner, it all begins with your mind accepting the risk of odd movements that break the barrier to your spirit. Something you thought you could never do, might become something you begin to do daily, but you will never know till you take the risk, challenge of letting your mind and body feel it. Movement is freedom in whatever form you can achieve it. . . . . . . . . . #bjj #yoga #vancity #expand #believe #manifest #onechampionship #mma #mindset #motivation #success #entrepreneur #love #inspiration #life #business #hustle #goals #motivationalquotes #lifestyle #inspire #entrepreneurship #gym #successquotes #positivevibes #happy #believe #inspirationalquotes #ambition #grind #happiness
ONE: You will make your debut against Toni Tauru at ONE: REIGN OF VALOR. What are your thoughts on him?
GS: He is going to be probably one of the tallest fighters I’ve fought. His jiu-jitsu is good, but I’ve worked every possible thing. I don’t know what this guy can bring. I don’t know what he can show up with. I really don’t know. He’s also been on a layoff — he had some sort of knee injury.
Down here in Vegas, the beauty was that I had to learn to mix everything up because every guy here is mixing stuff up. Iron sharpens iron every single day. The strength that I have mentally and physically is going to overwhelm him.
Final Workout in Phuket before flying to Yangon, Myanmar. Its officially fight week ONE Championship
ONE: What can the fans expect from “Saint Lion” in Yangon?
GS: I’m just a mixture of everything. There are certain elements that are added to ONE’s rules that [I am not used to] like knees to the head on a grounded opponent, so those are some things we have been working on. These are things that open up other things.
I’m not a wrestler, but I definitely have a wrestler’s strength and a wrestling style on the ground. You’re going to see a wild style with a lot of speed. Being southpaw definitely gives a lot of guys issues. I think once he feels one of my leg kicks, it’s going to wake him up real good.
Be ready to see a complete fight in there. It’s basically going to be a lion hunting a giraffe inside the cage. I’m going to make it seem like that house has always been mine, because I’m going to be the first one in the cage and I’ll be waiting for him.