Singaporean mixed martial arts pioneer Radeem Rahman saw his career stall again last year, but now he is ready to return to action, he is looking forward to putting on his best performance yet.
Rahman has struggled with injuries for many years, but last year, his time away from the Circle was for more positive reasons as he welcomed his baby daughter into the world, sharpened his skills, and improved his strength and conditioning.
Now, he is looking forward to putting everything he has worked on into practice and finally working toward an extended run of success he had looked set to achieve after he made a successful debut at the very first ONE Championship event.
Ahead of his return to action, he reveals how he feels about stepping back into the Circle, how has improved since his last bout, and what he needs to do to beat Chan.
ONE Championship: How are you feeling physically and mentally ahead of your match against Jeff Chan?
Radeem Rahman: Physically, I’m good and I’m mentally prepared because, finally, this a homecoming for me. It’s been a while since I competed in Singapore and now coming back here, it’s definitely exciting.
I’m more excited than nervous because I just finished competing in boxing, so I feel that I am physically and mentally prepared and I want to showcase how much I’ve improved when I enter the Circle.
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ONE: During this time away, what have you been working on?
RR: I have been working a lot on my striking – boxing, Muay Thai. That’s why I even competed in boxing to understand how I can get better or mix things up.
I want to mix things together so I can become a more effective martial artist. Like when I throw my strikes, I know how to control my distance, how to bait him or take him down, ground and pound.
And of course, I have been working on my grappling too. I believe that grappling is more important because whenever you close the distance, there’s always an option for the takedown. Or even if he takes me down, and then I have to be prepared for that.
ONE: What is it like to prepare for your first ONE bout since October 2018?
RR: I feel grateful, first of all. I just can’t wait for this event. For the past one and a half years that I’ve been away, I’ve wanted to show how I’ve improved since my last bout. That’s why I can’t wait to step into the Circle again in my hometown.
ONE: How did it feel when the matchmakers approached you with this bout?
RR: I was shocked and surprised, not because I [have anything] against my opponent, but because I’m finally getting a chance to compete again and it’s in my hometown.
When I found out it was Jeff Chan, the MMAShredded guy, it felt very cool to go up against someone doing so many tutorials and videos about mixed martial arts. I’m excited to see how the match goes because he’s quite fast. Also, he’s more than just about doing videos, this shows just how much he loves martial arts.
ONE: What do you think his strengths are?
RR: The way he competes, he’s fast and he’s very agile, and he has very fluid movements. There’s not much else I know about him because his last match was a year-plus ago, but it seems like he has knowledge on the ground, and standing up, he is good and explosive.
ONE: What about his weaknesses?
RR: Our climate here plays a part. He has to adapt to Singapore, and he probably has to come to a neighboring country in Asia to prep and train before he eventually competes at the actual event.
ONE: How do you think you match up against him?
RR: I am going to compete at my normal walk-around weight. I have the energy, cardio, and I believe I can go the distance with him.
ONE: What are you expecting of yourself in this match?
RR: I always try to finish a match earlier but in mixed martial arts, anything can happen. I don’t know if I can finish him early, so I have to take whichever chance is given to me.
If he makes one mistake, I’m going to capitalize on it. If not, then of course, I will have to react to the situations accordingly. If I can’t finish him on the ground, then I will go with my striking.