A champion in the amateur ranks, Frans Mlambo feels a tough fight is ahead in his upcoming Brave FC matchup.
[mks_dropcap style=”square” size=”52″ bg_color=”#1588db” txt_color=”#ffffff”]U[/mks_dropcap]nlike the up-and-coming MMA fighters of today who quickly jump to the pros, Dublin-based Mlambo wanted to prove his worth in the amateur ranks.
During the first two years of his life as a mixed martial artist, the 25-year old native of South Africa chose to stay and compete in his hometown. His experience wasn’t as glorified compared young guns sharing the bright lights of the UFC and other major promotions. But, this enabled him to absorb the things that he needed before moving on. An eight-fight win streak towards the IMMAF featherweight title in 2015 capped off his amateur experience.
Mlambo’s personal goal was to become a champion in the amateur circuit before moving up to the pros. He believes that building a strong foundation early in his career will be crucial for his development as a fighter. “Well, I’m only doing MMA about 4 years, so I don’t feel I spent too long a time as an amateur. I didn’t what to rush into anything,” he tells Dojo Drifter.
“I had to win the IMMAF before I went pro because I feel you have to be the best at the level your at before you can move forward and I think that’s my plan for the rest of my career but who knows the future.”
A member of Ireland’s Straight Blast Gym (SBG), Mlambo considers himself fortunate to be part of the continent’s finest fight team. It’s where he extensively learns under head coach John Kavanagh. In addition, Bahrain-based KHK MMA also supports him through various opportunities like in Brave Combat Federation.
“I was real lucky to join SBG. John Kavanagh’s approach to training is perfect for me in many ways,” says Mlambo, currently 2-1 as a pro. “One of them being he shows you what you need to do to reach a certain goal but lets you make your own choices, which is rare to find in coaches but is really important to me and everybody that trains there at SBG is at a serious level and you grow every day in there.”
“Being part of KHK MMA also helps me a load financially to help me get where I am. Right now, there’s so many new developments with KHK MMA. It’s interesting to see where it is going to go next with Brave and everything else.”
At SBG, Mlambo trains together with UFC featherweight champ Conor McGregor on a regular basis. Though he admits that they don’t share the same swagger, it was the current UFC featherweight champion’s unending drive to be the best is what he emulates the most since he stepped to the gym four years ago.
“I’ve been training and sparring Conor since I joined SBG and it has been interesting to see his development and just goes to show what you can achieve when you put loads of effort and time into what you like to do and really study it in detail.” He adds, “but we have totally different personalities and what works for him wouldn’t always work for me it’s just about perfecting what you already have and he’s done that really well.”
In Brave CF’s first card this September, Mlambo gets to showcase his wares against Stephen Loman of the famed Team Lakay Gym in the Philippines. Even with his credentials, he thinks that he’s the underdog heading to the fight and vow to show his potential in this fight.
“I’m expecting this to be one of my toughest fights and that is how I’m preparing for it Stephen seems more experienced than me and everybody has him up to win. I thrive as an underdog so I’m looking forward to it.”
“Fans can expect an exciting sharp Frans Mlambo I’m at a stage in my career now that everybody is watching so I ain’t trying play no games,” ends Mlambo.
Mlambo photo courtesy of IMMAF