Amir Khan signs with ONE FC, accepts invite-only spot at Evolve MMA in Singapore

The mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, not the pugilist.

"There's only one Amir Khan," is the chant which rings out every time the famous boxer fights in England, but it's not entirely true.

Singapore is now the central hub for Asian MMA and the latest prospect to emerge from the "Lion Kingdom" bears exactly the same name as the British boxer, boasts a 4-0 amateur record and, according to Yahoo, has recently signed a contract with ONE FC.

The "other" Amir Khan, the Singaporean, recently returned from the United States, where he was studying and received his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) blue belt under Relson Gracie. The first thing he did when he got home was approach Evolve MMA and after a successful trial, the 20 year old prospect was invited to join the all-star fight team.

As he prepares to make his ONE FC debut, he will be training alongside the likes of Shinya Aoki, Ben Askren and Leandro Ataides, just to name a few, and says he can't wait to compete in his homeland for the first time.

"It's no doubt Evolve is the best in Asia, a world class MMA training gym and me and my dad have been monitoring the growth of MMA in Singapore and Asia and feel Evolve is the right place for me to be in and to move to the next level in MMA."

However, acceptance onto the Evolve MMA fight team is by invitation only, and Khan was delighted to discover his trial had been successful.

"I was nervous because once i started training, I realized how great and technically strong the fight team is. All of them are top ranking in their field and have so much experience. I put all my heart and energy in to the training and when Mr. Chatri announced he accepted me in the team, I was so happy."

Despite his young age, Khan already has extensive experience in multiple martial arts and made his professional Muay Thai debut at an age where the closest most children get to a competitive fight is playing computer games.

"Muay Thai is the first martial art I picked up. I started at the age of 13 and had my first pro fight at the age of 14 in Phuket which I won. Since then, I have always looking to compete and win and after I moved to the U.S. with my dad, I started learning BJJ and competed in NAGA tournament and won gold in both GI and No-GI events. I also joined the high school wrestling team and competed in wrestling competitions in Louisiana."

There are nowhere near as many opportunities for youngsters in Singapore to compete in amateur MMA, wrestling or grappling competitions as there are in the U.S. and that gives Khan an advantage over many of his compatriots. Evolve MMA head coach Heath Sims says he was particularly impressed by the potential of his latest recruit.

"Amir and his father emailed us at Evolve. We watched some footage on him on YouTube and were impressed by his potential. We were most impressed with his humility, good heart, work ethic, and athletic talent. We only invite fighters onto the Evolve Fight Team if we believe that they can become world champions in the future. He is still very young and needs to work hard and learn from all of his coaches and teammates if he wants to achieve that goal, but he has all of the right qualities."

ONE FC has held multiple shows at the Singapore Indoor Stadium while the UFC's first show took place at Marina Bay Sands earlier this year and the promotion plans to return in the not-too-distant future. MMA is going from strength to strength but a homegrown world champion could really take the sport to another level and the fighter with the famous namesake might just turn out to be that man.

www.twitter.com/jamesgoyder

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