(Senduk, on the right, during the san shou tournament in the 2011 South East Asia Games)
When Youne Victorio Senduk takes to the One FC cage this Saturday he will have to carry the weight of the nation on his shoulders. The 30-year old has been positioned as the main Indonesian attraction for the "Battle of Heroes" card on February 11th and is marketed as "Indonesia's very own martial arts hero." The man they call "Indra" however is not a stranger to pressure having been in the san shou tournament of the recently completed South East Asian Games, also in Indonesia, where he claimed silver.
"All fighters are motivated to win" he says "Though I am at the centre of attention I look at it as motivation, not pressure."
If that is the case Senduk should have plenty of motivation to succeed. Not only is he main-eventing the undercard portion of One FC's card, he is also re-igniting the Indonesian-Malaysian rivalry by taking on Kuala Lumpur's Raymond Tiew.
"The audience will be excited because my opponent is from Malaysia but for me we are only opponents in the ring." he strays away from the nationalistic outbursts often seen when these two nations collide.
In fact Senduk is unconcerned about his opponent to a point where he reveals little scouting has been done on his part.
"For me, it's not that important to assess the fighter I will face." he explains his position "MMA is an unpredictable sport."
Like his opponent, and an increasing number of MMA converts in Asia, Senduk's base is in san shou, an art he thinks is quite well suited to parley into mixed martial arts success.
"San shou is a fairly complete martial art when it comes to a fight." he opines. "It's just missing the chokes and joint locks."
"Indra" however does have a lot of experience in other striking styles such as kickboxing and muay thai, for which he is an instructor in Bandung, and interestingly enough this will not be his MMA debut. Back in the days of the MMA boom in Indonesia in the early to mid 2000's he did have two fights for RCTI DUEL promotion and managed to win both of them.
That was the time he started following the sport but the collapse of the local fight scene in early 2005 led him to compete in other disciplines. With the return of big-league MMA in the country "Indra", like everyone involved in the local scene, hopes the situation can change.
"Hopefully the presence of One FC can be the start of a resurrection for Indonesian MMA." he says. "We have a very positive and enthusiastic MMA community waiting for it."
A lot of it hinges on the success of the upcoming show but also on the success of Indonesian fighters like Senduk himself. With top Indonesian fighter Fransino Tirta locked away in the Hong Kong-based Legend FC it's up to them to carry the red and white flag in the One FC cage.
If "Indra" wins he might be getting to fight yet another san shou-to-MMA convert in the near future. In the finals of the SEA Games he lost to Filipino Mark Eddiva, now 1-0 in MMA and training with Lakay MMA. It's a opponent Senduk wouldn't mind getting another crack at.
"He's a very good fighter. Of course if I have a chance, I'd love to rematch him" he concludes.