Asian U-23 silver medalist in wrestling Gurpreet Singh is gearing up to make the switch over to mixed martial arts (MMA).
The 28-year-old has begun training at Singapore’s Evolve Gym, and recently reflected on what it was like to get hit for the first time, after competing in wrestling, a sport that does not allow striking, for most of his life.
“I’ve trained all my life as a wrestler. There are no strikes allowed there. So the first time you get punched in the face, it comes as a shock. For that first second you just pause.
“But then you carry on. You know lagna hi hai. Agar dar jaoge, you freeze aur fir aur khane padenge. Lag gaya lag gaya (you know you are going to get hit.
“But if you get scared, you will freeze and will get hit even more) But you have to continue. Abhi toh bohot khane hain (I’ll have to take a lot more punches),” Singh said.
Singh has signed a training deal with Evolve Gym, eventually expected to be featured in ONE Championship. He brings a hefty wealth of experience to the table from his wrestling career.
The young star is a former silver medalist in Greco-Roman at 77kg at the 2019 Asian Championships. He’s also a gold medalist from the Commonwealth Championships. Singh also owns victories over Olympic and world champions.
Initially, Singh wanted to make the switch to MMA after the Tokyo Olympics, however, those were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite defeating 2012 Olympic champion Kim Hyeon Woo and 2017 World Champion Viktor Nemes, he fell short of qualifying for the Olympic games after a loss to eventual Tokyo silver medalist Akhzol Makhmudov and bronze medalist Rafig Huseynov at the Asian and World Olympic qualifiers.
With that, Singh decided to close the wrestling chapter of his life and embark on a new journey into MMA.
“It was very disappointing to not qualify for the Olympics. It was always a dream, but I knew that I could not give another four years to wrestling.
“I knew I had to make a choice. You have to give a hundred percent to whatever you chose and so I decided to pursue MMA,” Singh said.
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