The connotation of a fighter who competes professionally rarely goes hand in hand with a white-collar day job.

For Kian Pham, however, it’s a reality. When he’s not fighting, he’s busy with his career as an Information Technology professional for a globally recognized company that he represents across the Asia-Pacific region.

“I try to keep my job separate to my fighting. I don’t think many of the people I work with are really that familiar with the sport, so it has worked well so far,” Pham revealed in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner.

Pham’s fight record of six wins with seven losses is nowhere near an accurate representation of his skills inside the cage, with the majority of his losses coming out of the bantamweight division, as opposed to his natural weight class of flyweight.

Pham (top) delivers a shot from the top (Chris dela Cruz/Sherdog)

“Coming from my football background, I was used to having to tackle people much bigger than me, and the physical nature of that kind of helped me a lot,” he explained. “I never really had any amateur experience. My first pro fight was exactly that—my first actual fight. There weren’t many fights at my weight, so I was forced to fight up [a weight class].”

An impressive statistic that comes out of Pham’s 13 professional fights is that of his six wins, all have come by way of submission.

“I started out doing BJJ back in 2005, and in my first year I won six of my seven competitions,” he explained. “I always planned to win no matter what, it just so happened that because I was fighting in heavier weight classes that [BJJ] was my advantage over the taller guys.”

With the popularity of the flyweight division growing since the UFC adopted it back in 2011, the amount of 125-pound fights has increased over the past two years. However, Pham prefers to not just take any fight that comes his way.

Pham (Chris dela Cruz/Sherdog)

“I only really want to take fights that interest me,” he admitted. “There are a lot of opportunities out there for the [flyweight] division and some international opportunities. I just want to take the right fights and fight the big-name opponents.”

Pham’s next bout is set to take place in the modified-rules arena of Combat 8, where he will face Brazilian fighter Allan Nascimento, who just recently suffered the first loss of his career at Legacy FC on April 12. The event marks the first time that the promotion has gone to Pham’s hometown of Sydney, and naturally Pham was excited to be an addition to the card.

“When I found out [Combat 8] was going to be in Sydney, I really wanted to get on the card, especially because it’s a bigger name for me to fight,” he explained. “I am not looking to go out and pad my record. Nascimento just recently fought for the flyweight title with Legacy FC and he trains out of Chute Boxe. I am looking for big-name scalps to take.”

Of the seven wins on Nascimento’s record, six are submissions. In a regular MMA bout, this would have been touted as a grappling battle. But the modified rules of Combat 8 certainly don’t play into either fighter’s strength. However, after spending so many years punching above his weight, an old adage comes into play for Pham: “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

“It’s a good platform for me to test myself, and it takes me out of my comfort zone,” he admitted. “I am forced to pretty much stand for the whole fight. When you only have 30 seconds on the ground, it doesn’t give you much time [to finish], so I am looking forward to having to stand. I have spent 70 to 80 percent of my camp working on my striking, so I am confident going into the fight that I am ready to do what it takes to get the win.”

After spending so long fighting above his weight class and gathering as much fight experience as he could in the process, it is now time for Pham to take his success in his day job and replicate that in his passion for fighting. Perhaps soon enough, both jobs will take him all over the world.

Editor’s Note: After this interview, Pham’s opponent Allan Nascimento was replaced by Ben Nguyen.

Kian would like to thank Advanced Fight Gear, Lion’s Den Academy and Luke Pezzutti and MAD – Martial Arts Development for their support leading up to the Combat 8 fight. Follow him on Twitter: @Karnage125

Top Photo: Kian Pham (L) has his arm raised in victory (Chris dela Cruz/Sherdog)

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.