Super Fight League: India’s Route to the UFC?


Over the last few years, the sport of MMA has reached new levels of popularity across the globe. Fundamentally, this is due to the emergence of superstar fighters in the UFC, such as Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Ronda Rousey, for example. For each competitor, their route into the Las Vegas-based promotion is different. While some consistently fought in various organizations, others worked their way through lesser-known companies. 

Despite having several companies available to them, Indian martial artists have thus far been unable to consistently fight their way to the UFC. However, the Super Fight League could prove to be a catalyst for more local top-level competitors entering the mainstream. So, let’s take a look at the five-year-old promotion and consider how it may help the country’s MMA progression. 

The Importance of Having a Local Platform 

Crucially, the impact of fighting for an established local promotion shouldn’t be understated. For example, prior to becoming the youngest champion in UFC history, Jones competed at several of American-based events, such as BCX 5 – Battle Cage Xtreme 5 and USFL – War in the Woods 3, according to his profile at  

This localized route to the UFC is also evident in Rousey’s career history. When competing in Strikeforce, a Californian promotion formerly headed by Scott Coker, Rowdy became the fourth Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Moreover, in showcasing how effective Strikeforce proved to be in creating world-class talent, the organization also brought through the likes of Alistair Overeem, Dan Henderson, Luke Rockhold, Nick Diaz, and many more.  

From looking at this, it’s apparent as to why Super Fight League could be so instrumental in India’s goal of having a UFC champion. Although the promotion has been subject to mixed reviews since being founded in 2018, the company undoubtedly has potential, especially following Amir Khan’s decision to buy shares in SFL four years ago. Furthermore, in changing to a league-style format, the SFL is now more unique than other promotions, making it an intriguing prospect to up-and-coming fighters.  

A Desire to Reach the Pinnacle 

While cricket continues to be the most popular sport in India, MMA is the fastest-growing activity in the South Asian country. Even though, of course, it remains to be seen how prosperous India can be in top-level martial arts, this growth undoubtedly shows that there’s a widespread desire to take local MMA to the next level. 

Moreover, according to, from a spectator standpoint, increasing numbers of Indian sports fans are turning to MMA as an alternative to traditional sports, such as cricket. Although MMA’s fan base still has scope to develop in India, this transition towards the up-and-coming combat-oriented practice is evident at With online betting also growing within India, prospective bettors can now bet on a whole host of different sports, including MMA. At some of the review site’s listed bonus-offering operators, such as 888sport and Unibet, MMA fans can bet on the most highly-anticipated events, like the upcoming lightweight title fight between Justin Gaethje and Nurmagomedov on October 25th.  

Taking Steps in the Right Direction 

While only time will tell if India can establish itself in the world of MMA, few can argue that the country isn’t making significant strides forward concerning its combat sector. Although the SFL may not be the world’s most well-known promotion, it could ultimately make the difference in helping more local fighters achieve their UFC dreams.  


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