India UFC trailblazer ‘discovered MMA on YouTube’ and fought for Bollywood actor

Anshul Jubli has put Indian MMA on the map before his return to the Octagon at UFC 294 – and he had quite the story getting there.

The 28-year-old was shown the sport by the brother of a friend back in 2015 when he was working as a school teacher and thinking about joining the Indian Army. He and his pals would then re-enact moves to try and master them before he found a home at the Crosstrain Fight Club in Delhi where he trained under Siddharth Singh.

Learning ground game in the gym and stand-up with the Tokas Boxing Club, he made his bow in the Matrix Fight Night, which was founded by Bollywood actor Tiger Shroff.

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Fighting at lightweight, Jubli won five consecutive fights under the Matrix banner between 2019 and 2021, catching the eye of UFC chiefs.

Road to UFC would provide his route to the big time, beating Kim Kyung-pyo in a semi-final to face Jeka Saragih in the final at UFC Vegas 68.

A TKO victory would make him the first Indian fighter to ever win in on a UFC card, telling Michael Bisping in the Octagon: "Namaste UFC, we have arrived! India is here!"

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Jubli went one step further than Bharat Kandare, who lost against Song Yarding back in 2017 – and is now looking to win in the UFC proper.

The undefeated star, now 7-0, takes on Mike Breeden (10-6) of the United States on the undercard of the lightweight title fight between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski

Proving his fighting credentials, Jubli has agreed to fight Breeden on Saturday evening despite his foe missing the 155lb lightweight limit by 3.5 lbs.

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Jubli will claim 30% of his opponents purse by agreeing to fight, with history in the palm of his hands for India.

UFC 294 also features a blockbuster co-main event between former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and the undefeated Khamzat Chimaev at their new weight division of middleweight.

Former light-heavyweight title challenge Magomed Ankalaev goes up against Johnny Walker, with Nathaniel Wood, Javid Basharat and Muhammad Mokaev also back in action.

Coverage of UFC 294 in the UK gets underway at 5pm on TNT Sports on Saturday October 21, with the main card from 7pm.

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