Pro at 19
Georgian MMA prospect, Mariam Torchinava has accelerated through the ranks to earn the right to compete for the HEXAGONE MMA belt at only 19 years old. Her future is looking bright.
Georgia is not France. When you wake up one morning with the desire to practice MMA at a high level, there aren’t many doors to knock on. The easiest solution is often to reach the capital Tbilisi, located in the east of the country.
This is precisely the path that Mariam Torchinava, now 19 years old, chose to follow. High level judoka, proven by her two national titles and her silver medal acquired at the European junior championships, the Caucasian decided at the end of 2020 to change tack, leaving her training discipline. “I wanted to do MMA because in this sport, there are more prospects for development. It is the future! And also, I find it more challenging than judo, because there’s more action and adrenaline.”
“During my entire childhood, all I did was study, train, and help my mother raise my six siblings”
She was 17 years old at the time, living in Senaki – a four hours away drive from the capital- but chose to take the plunge. Mariam Torchinava lands at the Guram Fight Club, the main gym of the city, and its twenty or so professional fighters. At the beginning, the adaptation was difficult. She was a minor, had a lot of odd jobs, and had just radically changed her lifestyle.
“My whole childhood was about studying, training, and helping my mom raise my six siblings. Here in Georgia, that’s how it works. So when I first came to Tbilisi, I had a little bit of a hard time.” As the months went by and with the help of her coach Giorgi Kabulashvili -a “second father” to her- her daily life improved, young and full of hope, she made good progress, which led to her successful debut in the cage.
“I give myself two years to pass a real course”
Her promising record (3-0) makes her today one of the two main fighters of Georgia, with her teammate Sofiia Bagishvili, ranked #1 in the strawweight of KSW, a major organization in Europe. “She’s my sparring partner, we train twice a day together,” says Mariam Torchinava, proud to share time with her nation’s elite. In a country where grip sports are king, the young girl and her coach quickly focused on foot-fist boxing, which she had never tried before her transition. “I wasn’t comfortable at first, but after two years, it’s much better,” she concedes. This accelerated success is also due to her involvement. After working in cafes and supermarkets, the former judoka is now dedicated full time to MMA, thanks to her sponsors and contracts signed with different organizations. And she doesn’t plan to stop there. “I’m giving myself two years to turn a real corner.”