This 25 year old isn’t your average joe. Having earned his place in the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) circuit, he has come a long way from being a lanky teenager. At first glance, towering at 6 feet and dressed in a cargo jacket, Farhan Siddiqui looked straight off an army camp, but his jovial demeanor was in stark contrast to his appearance. As we exchange pleasantries and settle down with a cup of coffee, he begins narrating his story with a sudden intensity!
As a kid, Farhan loved to watch WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) on the television and imitate his favorite wrestler, “The Undertaker”. This fascination with wrestling and combat was what attracted him to MMA. “I observed that the gloves used by MMA fighters were very different than other combat fighters and so was their technique”, says Farhan. Curious to know more about the sport, he convinced his father, who was very much against “ladaai-jhagda”, to let him enrol in a one month MMA class. Having extended the class without his parent’s permission, 3 months into training, Farhan had already fought his first professional fight; which was rare for a student with no prior fight history.
However he says, his turning point was when he fought in the India v/s France match in which he suffered a bloodied defeat. Bruised and broken, he picked up where he left, trained rigorously for 6 months and won the next match he fought in. “That’s where I got my stage name Furious Farhan”, he beams. But with no financial assistance from his family he had to take up day jobs to support his MMA ambitions. From being a salesperson, to a marketeer and a personal fitness trainer in local gyms, Farhan took every job opportunity that came his way. “I would work during the day and train at night without any coaching”, says Farhan.
Despite the hardships, there has been no turning back since his first tryst with the sport. Amidst all this, Farhan has successfully coached 3 national level champions at AIMMAA (All India Mixed Martial Artists Assosiation), trained over 600 women in self defence with the help of TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) and innumerable other clients in the field of Martial Arts and first- hand combat.
When asked on what keeps him going, he says, “My firm belief in the Almighty and my stubbornness to hold on to my dreams!”
A foodie at heart Farhan loves trying out new cuisines as much as he loves travelling. He says, his recent trip to China representing the CFK (Chinese Kung Fu Federation) was the most memorable one yet, but he loves the himalayan ranges and makes it a point to visit them every few years. Farhan also enjoys being in front of the camera. He often films videos of his rehearsals and training sessions for his social media pages. This fascination also got him featured in MTV’s Indies music series. [You can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/siPJV-F1V2I ]
Apart from this, when asked about future plans, he says he wishes to go abroad and join a MMA federation that can support his ambitions. Sighting infinite loopholes in the Indian MMA federations, he says many budding fighters and athletes slip between the cracks due to the apathy on the federation’s part, “The politics in the Indian federation restricts growth of budding fighters, it’s a shame” he adds.
On a positive note, the things that top his list of plans for the future are- fighting 500 matches and becoming the next best Indian featherweight champion in the pound-per-pound category.
“I never thought I’d come this far, but now that I am here, I only want the best there is”, he ends with a determined smile.
For those who want some inspiration to get off your couch and chase your dreams, here’s a video of Farhan’s story to push you: https://goo.gl/nfWRAu
I have known Farhan for over 5 years now. And throughout the years he has only gotten better at what he does. There aren’t many people who are determined enough to cling onto dreams when it gets tough. Farhan is someone I’ve personally learnt how to be “dheet” (stubborn) and fight for my passion and beliefs. But most of all I think his story is worth listening to!