By Caoilte de Barra
India’s Ramston Rodriques is one to watch at the 2022 IMMAF Asian Championships. The tournament will be his second outing in IMMAF after his debut at the 2021 World Championships, where he had mixed results.
Initially, he finished his Lukáš Piffko before falling short against eventual silver medalist Yusup Magomedov. Before competing in MMA, he played Water Polo but was inspired to make the switch by former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar. He explained:
“I have been an athlete all my life. Growing up, I was a Water polo player. Sports has been an integral part of my life. I was first introduced to MMA when Brock Lesnar became the UFC Champion. I was instantly hooked, but I had no idea how to get started at the time as the sport wasn’t popular in my country back then. I always wanted to learn more about the sport. Finally, when I moved to Dubai, I enrolled in a BJJ school, and there was no looking back.”
Although his first competition may not have gone to plan, the Middleweight hopeful was taken aback by the event.
“IMMAF in January was my first MMA encounter on the big stage. I was overwhelmed by the opportunity. The experience of fighting the best amateur fighters in the world was an opportunity I am thankful for. The atmosphere and energy are steps towards that dream career we, as fighters, dream about. I was also surprised to see how professional and smooth it was organised. Something I haven’t seen in most of the events I have been part of. The experience was massive not only as a fighter but overall. It has certainly opened my mind in so many different ways, and I am sure to put on better performances every time I step inside that cage.”
Many may have heard of Ramston before he competed through UFC superstar Conor McGregor, who posted a picture of Ramston on social media after training together.
“Conor is an inspiration not only to MMA fighters but to so many people around the world. Fortunately for me, I was training at the gym he visited during his stay in Dubai. We started training together, and he was kind to have me part of his fight camp in preparation for the Poirier fight. The experience for me was kind of living in a dream. I had no MMA credentials at the time, and to be part of the global superstars camp was unbelievable. I will forever be great full to Conor for that opportunity.
“Being such a global superstar, he didn’t have to do anything, but he was so kind to say a few words about my country and myself. I am not sure why he wanted to do that for me, but I guess the man has always spoken his way. I was definitely noticed after that, there is no denying it, and I am happy that people associate me with Conor because from being a fan I am now Conor’s teammate.”
Training with the former two-weight division champion was an experience that lasted until the Irishman’s team arrived. However, from the time training together, Rodriques learned a lot.
“We spent a lot of time training together until his team arrived. Every day was a learning curve for me. I am sure we can learn technically about the sport all our life but what I learnt was his attitude towards life. The charismatic personality of the man. I think he was born with it. People who know him personally may relate to what I am saying because when he’s around, there is an energy you feel that’s hard to describe.”
Rodriques believes MMA is a sport that chooses its athletes, and he has plans on making a big impact in the sport.
“It will be a dream come through to bring the UFC to my country and headline the card.”