Thirty-one-year-old Furqan Cheema relishes the opportunity to get back to MMA competition and feels as motivated as ever to do so.
The Bolton Arena is set to host Full Contact Contender’s first show of the year on March 5th, in what is shaping up to be must-see action.
Tom Crosby will square off against Dez Parker for the British welterweight championship in the main event. Before that, fans are warmed up with eight gripping professional contests.
The card is also stacked with a bundle of amateur action, including the flyweight and middleweight championship fights.
I had the pleasure of catching up with Furqan Cheema ahead of his contest on March 5th against Jake Kelly.
Interview With Furqan Cheema
Firstly, you’ve taken some time away from the sport over the last two/three years. How has life been since the time away from competing?
Unfortunately, I did take time out. It was tough being away from the sport. I was completely away from the gym for long periods, and then re-entering felt like I was back to the beginning and working all over again to get myself back to where I needed to be, but everything happens for a reason.
2019 saw you turn to the pro-ranks, streaming rolling your opposition until your ONE debut. What has been the reasoning behind the long period of inactivity, and how happy are you to find yourself back competing and preparing in camp?
Due to personal reasons, I decided to step away from the sport. Still, on my return, I received a phone call from my current manager Rizwan of MTK, and he motivated me to get back into competition and work towards results. In my current Unfortunately, Covid has set me back for another two years since ONE, but I’ll be making my first appearance under the tutelage Mark Spencer of Team Fulinkinzan and SBG Bradford.
Cheema Talks ONE FC Debut
On the topic of the ONE debut, unfortunately, you fell short. What do you feel went wrong in that fight? Was it a case of the pressure of being on a huge stage, too early in your career or a mix of everything?
The pressure, of course, was huge. I felt I handled it well, and took the fight on five days notice which at the time, I wasn’t preparing for any competition and had just returned from my holidays until I got the call-up. I feel the outcome would have been different for the fight with preparation and fight camp. Regardless, I went through many stages in the short period. The weight cut was the toughest battle and did everything to make it possible in such a short period.
Although you left Singapore not pleased with the result, now you look back, what valuable lessons do you feel you can take from that whole experience?
I took many valuable lessons. Even though the result wasn’t what I wanted, I’ve always been grateful for the opportunity. The valuable lesson I took was always to stay active in the gym, even when not in preparation for a fight.
Cheema Talks Time Away From MMA
What have you missed the most in your time away from the sport?
Mostly the time on the matt and gaining the knowledge. Mixed Martial Arts is ever so growing, and I feel if you are not in the gym, then you are falling behind daily simple as that.
Your opponent Jake Kelly will be making his professional debut on the night. What do you know about Kelly, if anything? Do you feel this is a matchup that favours you on paper?
I know Jake is an undefeated 4-0 professional boxer. From what I’ve seen, has good skills as a boxer, but we are going into an MMA bout. So, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I never favour myself; I’m just going to focus on myself and do what I need to do to get the win.
What are the goals for 2022? If you leave FCC victorious, are you looking to have an active year? What goals have you set yourself?
My focus is on 5th March and nothing else for now.
When you put your head on the pillow at night and visualise this fight, what type of fight are you anticipating, and do you have any last words for your opponent before you clash?
I don’t like to think too much about the fight. Once the cage door closes that’s when it all matters. Best of luck to my opponent.
Featured image credits to ONE Championship