It’s not easy to be a heavyweight in Southeast Asia, just ask 23-year-old Vincent Majid, who has had to wait several years to make his professional MMA debut due to the sheer dearth of opponents in his native Indonesia.
Despite the lack of competitive opportunities in the cage, he has continued to train and compete in other martial arts. On Sept. 13, his patience will be rewarded with a spot on the card of a ONE FC show at the 15,000-capacity Istoro Senayan Stadium in Jakarta.
It promises to be a baptism of fire for Majid, who comes from a Judo and Combat Sambo background, and he is looking forward to making his professional debut under the banner of Asia’s biggest MMA promotion.
“I am super excited! I have been waiting for this opportunity for a long time and there is no better promotion to do it on. ONE FC has been a game-changer in Asian MMA and I just can’t wait,” he said.
Naturally a heavyweight, Majid had to drop down to 205 pounds in order to secure a spot on the ONE FC Jakarta card. His reward is a match-up with Malaysian Eugenio Tan (1-1), but the hard work began many months ago as he set about sweating off enough pounds to make the fight possible.
“My normal walking weight used to be 137 kilograms. I started dropping weight after my national Judo victory earlier this year in order to pursue my MMA dreams because I know that it is impossible for me to find fights at heavyweight. Now, my walking weight is around 100 to 103 kilograms and I am very confident that I will make weight easily. I’m even planning to go lower than 93 in the future.”
Although this will be Majid’s first time competing in a cage and his first professional MMA fight, he says he has enjoyed success in several other combat sports.
“I’m a national Judo champion and I’m a multi-times winner of the Indonesian Submission Championship. I’m also a two-time superfight champion in the Indonesian Jui-jitsu Championship and I used to fight in Combat Sambo and once got to be ranked in the top ten.”
He is taking on an opponent who made his professional MMA debut a year ago and has two fights already under his belt, as well as some amateur experience, but Majid says he prefers to focus on his own strengths and weaknesses rather than Tan’s specific skill set.
“I know he’s tough and has a boxing base, that’s all. I don’t want to bother myself by thinking about what’s my opponent is like and how he will act in the cage. I will leave that to my coaches at Spider Academy so they will know how to train me.”
Majid began learning martial arts when he was five years old, but opportunities for Indonesian mixed martial artists have become increasingly limited during his lifetime after the country’s only professional promotion, TPIFC, ceased operations in 2005.
He thinks that Indonesia is still lagging behind some of its Southeast Asian rivals in terms of MMA development largely due to the lack of opportunities for local fighters to compete.
“In terms of skills, I think we are not that far apart, but in terms of promotions, we are far apart because Malaysia have Malaysia Fighting Championship, Malaysian Invasion and Ultimate Beatdown, and Singapore is the ONE FC base. The only thing we need to ignite the MMA spirit in Indonesia is a professional promotion here.”
The UFC announced earlier this year that it was expanding into Indonesia with the launch of a fighter development program and some tryouts have already taken place, while Legend FC got as far as booking a 2012 show in Jakarta that was subsequently cancelled.
That leaves ONE FC as the only international promotion currently putting on events in Indonesia. Its second show in Jakarta promises to be on a much larger scale than its inaugural effort, which featured Honorio Banario, Bae Young Kwon and Soo Chul Kim, and attracted 4,371 fans to the BritAma Arena in February 2012.
The Istoro Senayan Stadium, which plays host to ONE FC’s Sept. 13 Indonesian card, is approximately three times the size of that venue and Majid hopes that having an event of this scale in Jakarta will help to take the sport to the next level in his homeland.
“Now Indonesian MMA is a sleeping giant, the potential is there, but there is just nothing that ignites that spirit to fight except for ONE FC and some small shows. But this year a new generation of Indonesian fighters will emerge and hopefully bring victory back to the red and white.”
With extensive experience competing in Judo, Combat Sambo and Jiu-Jitsu, Majid should have the skill set to succeed in the cage and a win over a Malaysian opponent at the biggest MMA event ever held in Jakarta would provide the perfect platform to launch his professional career.