Indian ONE Championship flyweight prospect Gurdarshan “Saint Lion” Mangat was diving right into the deep end when he decided to abandon his high-paying job as an accountant for the insecurity and grind that comes with life as a martial artist.
After finally coming to terms with the underlying sense of unfulfillment that he felt with his existence, Mangat decided he would dedicate himself to training in mixed martial arts with the same unwavering commitment that he’d devoted to his university studies.
And while the physical aspect of combat came naturally, the lifestyle that comes with it was much more of a foreign concept for Mangat, especially coming out of the suit-and-tie world he previously occupied.
Fortunately for him, a friendship he struck with reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes came at an opportune time.
The two trained together, discovered they were like like-minded people, as Fernandes became an indispensable source of knowledge and wisdom for the green Mangat, as he navigated the rocky waters of life as a martial artist.
“He’s the one I met within the first year of training who became my mentor,” Mangat recalls. “He became somebody that guided me through this. Had I not met Bibiano, my mindset wouldn’t be what it is today.”
“You have to see how they think, how they move. What they do inside the circle, outside the circle. When they’re just in the gym,” he continued.
Those lessons extended far beyond the mat. The Brazilian multiple-time world champion taught Mangat plenty about the essence of what makes up a quality person.
“He taught me the spirit of mixed martial arts. He taught me how to become a good person in life, how to become a good man, a good son, a good husband,” Mangat explained. “Not just as mixed martial artists but how to be a good human being altogether. Without him, I probably wouldn’t be the person I am today, in sport and in life.”
Those indispensable lessons saw Mangat make a quick jump from the amateur ranks into the world of professional combat, where he instantly thrived. He’ll look to add to his four-match win streak when he takes on Abro Fernandes at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY tonight in Kuala Lumpur.
Mangat made ONE’s flyweight division stand up and take notice with his stunning second round knockout victory over former title contender Toni Tauru in his promotional debut back in March, and he wants to continue this at the Axiata Arena again.
“My people have waited for this, they’ve waited for one of their own to be fighting the top guys in the world. I want to give them something to celebrate,” he concluded.