New Delhi: Bharat Khandare, the Mumbai-based MMA fighter, became the first-ever Indian to fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The 28-year-old from Nashik, Maharashtra, made his debut against China’s Song Yadong in the preliminary featherweight bout in Shanghai at the UFC Fight Night in Shanghai on November 25. However, the Indian lost by submission in the first round.Also Read - Conor McGregor Beats Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo to Become Forbes' Highest-Paid Athlete For First Time
Khandare came in the match on the back off a loss against Ahmed Faress in the Brave 5 fight, which took place in India. However, the Indian fighter has had an impressive five-match winning streak before that loss. Also Read - UFC Star Conor McGregor Sends Special Message For Indian Fans During Covid-19 Crisis
Khandare, who hails from a wrestling and kickboxing background, was one of the best athletes in leading local MMA promotions where he was crowned featherweight champion, which helped him to make his way into the UFC. The Indian fighter also once trained at Jackson-Wink in Albuquerque, New Mexico, home to UFC superstars Holly Holm and BJ Penn. Also Read - Kylian Mbappe Gifts His Hat-Trick Jersey to UFC Star Khabib Nurmagomedov | Watch Video
Earlier this year, Canadian fighter Arjan Singh Bhullar became the first Indian-origin fighter to be signed by the UFC. Bhullar had represented Canada at the 2012 London Olympics London 2012. Among Bhullar’s achievements is a gold medal at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010.
The Indian MMA prospect has grown quite a lot over the last few years. With promotions like the Super Fight League and Brave 5, young and enthusiastic fighters have found respectable platforms to showcase their talent.