And that’s what drives Mohd Aiman Raziz Affindi on as he seeks to make it as a professional MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter.
“It’s not hard for me to commit to this. To make the decision to pursue this full time ... it was an easy decision. I can go for training up to four times a day and not get tired of it,” said Aiman, who started out as a boxer in school.
He took up boxing in school when he was 16 and went on to represent Negri Sembilan at the National Boxing Circuit meet and won a bronze in the 56kg category in 2012.
However, it wasn’t until he started learning muay thai that his interest in MMA, was piqued. And there’s been no turning back.
“Boxing was great, but it kind of got a little monotonous towards the end. So, I learnt muay thai from a guy who was teaching it at his house ... it wasn’t like a proper gym but that’s when I got to explore different styles of fighting that eventually led me to MMA,” said Aiman, who currently trains at Klinch MMA at Publika.
“Now, it’s like a part of me. I love it ... I’m hooked, I can’t get enough of it. When you’re training, it can get really intense and you feel tired and it’s like you can’t do it any more and you just want to rest. But then, when I’m not training, I just miss it so much.”
The 19-year-old hopes to one day sign with US-based MMA promotions Ultimate Fighting Champion_ship (UFC) or Bellator MMA.
“I’d love to sign with UFC or Bellator. The standards of fighters on those promotions are of a different level, it’s much higher and to be able to train and fight over there would be amazing,” he said.
Aiman made it to the final of the inaugural Malaysian Invasion Mixed Martial Arts (MIMMA) Championships last year, losing to Prabu “Superman” Somanaidu in the bantamweight category.
This year, Aiman is back for a second stab at winning a belt in the second season of MIMMA, this time as a flyweight. Aiman has already advanced into the quarter-finals after beating Ong Weng Sheng in last Saturday’s ladder match at the Paradigm Mall.
“I watch those fights on UFC, especially the taller fighters, to learn how they move and pick up little things on how I can improve myself.
“I’m working on being an all-round fighter. Last time, I didn’t strike as much. So now, I’m getting more confident in striking and kicking. Even wrestling, here I get to grapple with guys bigger than me like Prabu ... so, when I meet the smaller guys in the ring, it’s a lot easier for me,” said Aiman, who stands at 175cm.
“Of course, I’d love to go all the way again this year and win the belt, but I’m just keeping my head down and working hard. I’ll take it one step at a time.
“This year’s talent is amazing, especially in my category. There are a lot of decent fighters. But even across the board, the level of competition is so much higher this season and the fights are a lot more exciting.”
The two-day MIMMA quarter-finals will be held at the same venue from June 21.