After the birth of his newborn daughter in March, the 31-year-old took a self-imposed hiatus from active mixed martial arts competition.
Being one of the first professional combat sports athletes in Singapore instilled in Rahman an early sense of discipline and maturity. It greatly helped the first-time father navigate the dizzying responsibilities of parenthood.
As a result, Rahman found time to keep himself in shape and sharpen his skills through other competitive endeavors.
“I’ve been competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitions on the side since I was a white belt,” he begins.
“I follow a lot of Southeast Asian promotions and when I am not competing in ONE, I really try to challenge myself by taking part in these competitions.”
A firm believer in constant progress and improvement, Rahman has never stopped training with his team at Neue Fit in preparation of these competitions.
Rahman is aware that every athletic competition presents a valuable opportunity to develop his skills and test himself against the sport’s very own, before he makes his inevitable return to ONE.
“I always train to get better and to improve. So, these competitions allow me to see how I will fare against boxers, BJJ specialists, and other athletes,” he explains.
“The last time I took part in this crossfit competition and surprisingly, I actually won and performed better than the crossfitters themselves.”
Much like his pre-bout training camp, the intensity of preparation and game planning for these competitions is something Rahman — who is no stranger to the grind — acknowledges.
“We train for specific scenarios, like A, B, C, D, and we always try to have a solution prepared. If we go for A, we are not going to be stuck at A. If our opponent doesn’t react the way we want him to, we can go to B, C or D,” he says.
“I think it’s important for a mixed martial artist — you mix things up — so having all these different competitions level up my game in different areas. It’s a big plus.”
A newly christened purple belt, Rahman is excited about the upcoming Copa Da Malásia tournament in Kuala Lumpur next week.
“This is my first BJJ competition as a purple belt. I’ll be competing in the below-70kg open and below-76kg masters category, in both gi and no-gi,” he says.
“I am aiming for four golds in this contest. I really feel like this is a good opportunity to test my skills against high-level competitors because I know everyone is looking to give their best and win.
“I am actually looking forward to trying out a new half guard move I trained for this competition. This is a great chance for me to test this out and see how I fare.”
However, he still has his eye on mixed martial arts.
The Singaporean has set ambitious goals for himself this year, both in and outside of the ONE Circle.
“I want to compete two more times the rest of this year. The next time I want to come back to ONE is probably in mid-September, and maybe another time in October. Hopefully, I can stay injury free and compete,” Rahman says.
“I am also aiming to compete in the World Master IBJJF Tournament in Vegas too. It’s going to be a very busy year, for sure.”