Riski Umar’s last appearance in the ONE Championship cage didn’t go his way.
The Indonesian, who sharpens his skills at the respected Bali MMA camp, lost via split decision to Cambodia’s Khon Sichan back in March, and in the process fell to his first professional defeat.
“My cardio was not good,” he admits.
“I got tired during the second round, so I tried to knock him out. It did not work.”
The shock of defeat, and the realisation that he wasn’t 100 percent fit for the contest, forced a period of self reflection for the 25-year-old. He realised that he needed to take his training more seriously if he had a real desire to succeed.
“I decided to be more serious about my training,” he said.
“I need take better care of my diet and training. Sometimes, I am not in the mood. I come home late, and I do not train as hard. I have to take care of my body. I have to be more like an adult than a kid.”
His driving force comes via his head coach at Bali MMA, Don Carlo-Clauss, who has been working him hard in the gym and looking to raise his intensity levels in training to take his fitness to the next level.
He’s been going on 40-minute runs to the beach in Canggu with teammate and fellow ONE Championship star Stefer Rahardian. He’s also been working particularly hard on his wrestling practices in training, as he looks to ensure that his relatively small frame at strawweight isn’t physically dominated by larger opponents.
“There are only three guys on the team who are my size. The bigger guys make me try harder,” Umar said.
“It is good for me because I am always trying to beat them.”
We’ll see the results of that training on Saturday night in Jakarta, as Umar takes on fellow countryman Doan Birawa at ONE: GRIT AND GLORY at the Jakarta Convention Center.
“I hope the fight focuses more on striking,” Umar said.
“I like throwing punches and kicks. And if I have to take him down, then I will take him down.”
The bout represents the first chance for Umar to show he’s learned from his past mistakes and he’s ready to make strides up the strawweight division.
But while the performance is important, the critical aspect of the matchup is the result, as he stated clearly: “I have to win.”