Nelson fighter Caleb Brash wants to be one of the great mixed martial artists. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Caleb has eyes on the prize


Just 18 months into his fighting career, Caleb Brash is already eyeing up a career in the octagon.

The 14-year-old Nelson College student won his first Muay Thai fight in a unanimous decision last month in Auckland.

It was just his second official bout in the ring.

Caleb dominated the three two-minute rounds against Thai opponent Sorntham Najaidee.

Having trained regularly with older local fighters such as Ricky Esilva, Caleb was well prepared for the bout.

“I pushed forward in first round, went in clinching and got some knees in. I was a bit tired in the second but landed a few good kicks and punches, and in the third round I just had to get through and complete the fight.”

Caleb says he knew he had won the 62kg fight upon the final bell and came out reasonably unscathed.

The win takes his early record to 1-1 with his first fight coming against an opponent who had fought multiple times before, but Caleb held his own.

“I lasted the three rounds and didn’t go down.”

Caleb says he was surprised by the intensity and energy required to go the distance.

Despite the loss, Caleb was hungry for more in-ring action following his debut bout.

Caleb’s combat career began when he joined Aikido Nelson at eight-years-old.

His love for striking then saw him take up Brazilian Ju-Jitsu at 11 and then, looking to expand his arsenal, the young fighter joined Maui Muay Thai Nelson at the beginning of last year.

The southpaw is now eyeing his next fight in October as he chases his professional dream.

“I want to fight in mixed martial arts professionally, whether it’s in the UFC or another promotion.”

He credits coach Suds Karki for increasing his fight IQ and improving his instinct.

“I have a better idea of what to do and when, during a fight.”

While he has yet to be rendered unconscious, Caleb understands the risk that comes with getting in the ring.

“I’m not worried about being knocked out, there is a danger of brain injury but I’m willing to take that risk because this is my passion.”

Though he possesses plenty of knockout power himself, Caleb is sure to show self-control outside of the ring.

“I don’t get into fights, I know I can hurt someone badly and I don’t want to do that.”

Caleb trains six days a week split between BJJ and Muay Thai.

“It gets exhausting sometimes.”

However, he isn’t short of motivation.

While he looks up to the likes of kiwi sensation Israel Adesanya, Caleb draws most of his inspiration from the notorious Conor McGregor.

McGregor made history by becoming the first UFC two division champion, holding both the featherweight and lightweight championships simultaneously.

But Caleb wants to go one better than his idol.

“There are a few fighters who have held two belts, but no one has had three, I want to set that record.”