Combat Sports

Indian MMA fighter Rahul Raju’s journey from shaolin kung fu to MMA

Rahul Raju

Rahul Raju

Hailing from Kerala, India, Rahul “The Kerala Krusher” Raju, 27, is one of the Indian athletes currently signed with ONE Championship. Recently, he revealed that while he started his martial arts training as a teenager, his dream when he was young was not to become a mixed martial artist.

“I was a kid who carried a lot of energy that got into a lot of trouble frequently and always dreamed about being a police officer one day,” Raju shared. At the age of 14, he started training in shaolin kung fu merely for self-defense and did not consider pursuing a career in professional martial arts.

Raju was 19 when he left India to study Mechatronic Engineering at Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore. The Kerala native said, “While I was studying, I trained silat for a year in Temasek Poly and after I graduated, I started training in mixed martial arts at Juggernaut Fight Club.”

Eventually, Raju felt his passion for martial arts was too strong to resist. While pursuing a career as an assistant engineer in a semiconductor company, he decided to serve a coach in the same club that he trained in.

In 2014, Raju made his MMA debut. As an amateur fighter, he had 3 wins and 0 loss.

In 2016, Raju turned professional. A professional MMA record of 5 wins and 1 loss as a professional fighter, with 4 of the 5 wins not going beyond the first round, earned a call from ONE Championship.

On March 24, 2018, Raju made his ONE Championship debut at “ONE: Iron Will” where he lost to Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai, 29, of Thailand via knockout. On July 27, 2018, the Indian contender lost to Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon, 27, of the United States at “ONE: Reign of Kings” via rear-naked choke submission.

Before the year ends, Raju wants to compete in ONE Championship for the third time and earn his first win in the promotion. Meanwhile, watch the bout between him and Tonon here:

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