ONE Championship athlete Furqan “The Lion” Cheema, 29, of Pakistan has joined Asylum Vale Tudo (AVT) Mixed Martial Arts. Former UFC and Bellator fighter Danny “The Cheesecake Assassin” Mitchell, 33, of England is the head coach of the MMA team based in Leeds, England.
On November 22, 2019, Cheema made his ONE Championship debut at “ONE: Edge of Greatness” at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. Unfortunately, he was submitted by Rahul “The Kerala Krusher” Raju, 27, of India in the second round.
This marked Cheema’s first ever loss, which appeared to have encouraged him to seek better training. He now holds a professional MMA record of 3 wins and 1 loss.
“I have joined AVT under new coach ex-UFC and Bellator veteran Danny Mitchell who will be preparing me from now on,” Cheema said in a statement obtained by Conan Daily. “AVT has fighters in the UFC, Bellator, Cage Warriors etc.”
“I’m going into full time training as a professional fighter,” the Pakistani MMA fighter continued. “(There will be) a lot of changes but for the best.”
Cheema admitted that he was disappointed in his loss to Raju. The Pakistani MMA fighter said, “But I can’t complain as I had no preparation or camp to show my potential.”
“It was a great experience and a fight that has made me hungry,” Cheema continued. “I’m making many changes in preparation for 2020 and will be a complete fighter and excited to come back and show what I can do.”
“I’m grateful to ONE Championship for giving the opportunity and I’m excited for the future,” the new AVT athlete added. “The loss has made me learn to always be ready and has humbled me to work really hard to achieve the best I can.”
On the other hand, Cheema emphasized that he has all the respect for Raju. The Pakistani fighter shared, “We are athletes and aim to show respect regardless of the outcome or background of the situation between Pakistan and India.”
It was Ahmed “Wolverine” Mujtaba, 26, of Pakistan who was set to face Raju at “ONE: Edge of Greatness.” But the former had to pull out from the card and was replaced by Cheema.
“Before the fight, I wasn’t really training much and I just came back from a holiday with family,” Cheema recalled. “I took it six days notice and lost weight quickly within the four days I was in Singapore.”
For Cheema, it was a great opportunity to fight in ONE Championship. He said, “Yes, it wasn’t my best performance at all and it hurts losing but I’m grateful that I still have the opportunity to compete again and to be prepared.”
Watch all the “ONE: Edge of Greatness” bouts here: