From trainer to fighter, Roshan gains prominence as MMA star


By Halley Nongmaithem


Manipur’s Roshan Mainam recently defeated Chinese fighter Liu Peng Shuai in a mixed martial art (MMA) matchup under the ONE Championship banner in Singapore on October 9.

This was a massive win for Mainam as he became the first Indian to win in such a competition.

The 24-year-old MMA practitioner did not start as a wrestler per se but faltered at table tennis before joining the Guru Hanuman Akhara - supposedly the most prestigious and oldest wrestling camp in India.

With Kario Issac as his inspiration, Roshan Mainam has fought against all odds, including a lack of funding and sponsorship.

Before signing with ONE Championship, Mainam entered the world of MMA back in 2015 in Mumbai.

Roshan’s venture into MMA:

Mainam had spent two years working two shifts as a trainer in Bangalore when he heard that the prestigious Evolve team was recruiting talent.

He thought of it as a golden opportunity and although he did not practice for two years, he was among the five out of 700 individuals who were selected by Evolve Singapore.

“Ever since being selected to the Evolve Team in February 2019, life has truly become smooth sailing for me,” Mainam said.

Roshan Mainam vs. Peng Liu Shuai

The October 9 win was his second win at the ONE Championship, something which he considers a milestone. He won his first match in 2019.

Recalling his 4-year stint at Guru Hanuman Akhara, Mainam said that there was a world of difference between Evolve and Guru Hanuman Akhara.

He said that Guru Hanuman Akhara taught him to be self condescending, while Evolve taught him otherwise.


With a seat intact at the Evolve Singapore, Mainam plans to set up a gym at Imphal’s own Nagamapal to provide an opportunity to the youth, with an aim to produce a world champion in his field.

With a “hard-working and brave mother” and a father that takes care of the cows, Mainam knows how far ahead he has come.

“After getting all the opportunities by being part of the Evolve Team, the challenges I faced have changed. Before it was money and the right opportunities, now it is to work harder,” Mainam said.

Although he says it is different to fight without an audience because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the fight was an important one.

“While everybody has got the talent, what would work out, in the long run, is far-sightedness,” he said.

Key to success

On being asked about the secret to success, Mainam said, “What is required is patience and perseverance in one’s chosen field. This will enable success to come through and stick around.”

“Society should also encourage upcoming players and promote them to be more successful,” he added.