Undefeated UFC welterweight Shavkat Rakhmonov recently revealed how street fighting as a child influenced his combat sports journey, while explaining why he discourages this approach for today’s youth.
As Rakhmonov detailed on a MMA podcast, his older brothers would arrange for him to fight other neighborhood children from ages 6 to 12. At the time, it accelerated the rugged Kazakhstani’s physical and mental durability.
“It’s true. From ages 6 to 12 years old, I was made to fight. I don’t think it was good, but of course it did make me stronger physically and mentally. And it shows in how I can perform now. I wouldn’t recommend older brothers putting their younger siblings through that today, but at that time, it was just something that happened. The times were different then.”
“Of course it makes you stronger,” Rakhmonov reflected on Morning Kombat podcast. “And you can go back to shows that your friend I don’t advice now elder brothers to make their young brothers to fight.”
While admitting the experience helped toughen him up, he says he doesn’t promote today’s youth partaking in unsanctioned fights. Still, it undeniably prepared him for succeeding across boxing, sambo and now MMA.
The trauma of being compelted to brawl manifested valuable traits like resilience and bravery. But Rakhmonov understands modern youngsters pursuing combat sports have safer outlets to develop, making the streets unnecessary.
Rakhmonov emerged from his childhood crucible sporting an unrelenting spirit that has powered a sterling professional career. But he doesn’t want kids feeling forced down the same hazardous path that shaped him.