Ring Warrior

Gianni said the training intensity grows and becomes more specific to the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. — Photo courtesy of Gianni Subba
— Photo courtesy of Gianni Subba
Gianni Subba

HE may be only 24 years old, but Gianni Subba is already a name to be reckoned with in the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) arena. The professional fighter has chalked up eight wins with only two losses.

"I have dedicated my life to martial arts. My goal is to become the world champion," he said.

Gianni is not the only fighter in his family. His brother, Keanu is a two-time Malaysian Invasion MMA champion and is also currently a professional fighter. His sister, likewise, has a black belt in taekwondo.

"Subba is a fairly common Nepali name. There is no meaning to it; just a caste. Gianni, on the other hand, is Italian. It comes from my mother's fondness for the Italian designer, Gianni Versace," he said.

How did you get interested in MMA?
Keanu and I have always been interested in martial arts. We grew up watching boxing and Muay Thai fights and shows, and while growing up, we used to put on a couple layers of socks on our hands and boxed with each other. We then started watching MMA on television and naturally started training in different disciplines.

Why MMA instead of other forms of martial art?
MMA is a combination of different forms of martial art. I enjoy the challenge of fighting different opponents; each with their own set of strengths and weaknesses. There is also no other feeling like getting your hands raised in victory after months of training and preparing.

What training do MMA fighters undergo?
We have to make sure all our corners are covered. We need to make sure each of our strikes is sharp with boxing or Muay Thai, our grappling is strong with wrestling or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and our strength and conditioning are good. The training intensity grows and becomes more specific to the opponent's strengths and weaknesses.

What are your achievements so far? Which was your proudest?
My favourite fight so far would be my last fight in Kuala Lumpur. My brother, another team mate, Aiman, and I all had fights that night. I was the last to fight and my opponent was a Brazilian champion who had just fought for the title. To earn victory and end that night with all three of us winning was a great moment. My proudest achievement is being able to do what I love doing every day.  

Tell us some memorable fights.
I was 18 when I had my first amateur fight. It was against a local tournament winner who was much heavier than me, and I won.
My professional debut was when I was 19. I fought a Singaporean in a sold-out arena in Singapore. I knocked him out in 30 seconds, and that started my career. It was like a dream come true.

When was the most intense period of your career?
I feel every fight camp is an intense period. Every fight poses a different challenge and each opponent brings on a different intensity.

What is a fighter's diet like?
We have to eat a healthy, wholesome diet. Food is fuel to us, and my meals consist mostly of lean proteins, complex carbs and lots of greens. I have a great nutritionist who helps me with all my dietary requirements.

How do you de-stress, and what is your favourite pastime?
I like to hang out with my family. We like to eat and spend time together. I am blessed with very supportive parents.
In fact, they are my biggest supporters. I also enjoy the beach, and I love to cook and enjoy trying out new recipes. To tell the truth, training also de-stresses me.

Where do you see yourself in 10, 20 years?
I like to live in the moment. For now, I see myself still doing what I love every day, whatever it may be.