Ritu Phogat: My Goal Is To Win The ONE Championship Belt For India

India’s Ritu Phogat had a dream mixed martial arts debut last November, when she scored an impressive win against Nam Hee Kim, at ONE: Age of Dragons.

But despite winning her ONE Championship debut via first round TKO, the former Commonwealth Wrestling Gold Medalist revealed that her transition from wrestling to mixed martial arts was not a walk in the park.

“It was not easy for me. When you leave a sport and join a new one, you are bound to face challenges. Living in a new country and getting accustomed to the sport’s conditions is not easy, but I have adapted to my surroundings and the sport now,” Phogat told ONE Championship.

Phogat’s decision to switch sports was a big surprise for many as India expected her to be the flag-bearer and golden standard for women’s wrestling for years to come but she ultimately made the leap to mixed martial arts.

In chasing her dream, Phogat left her homeland to relocate in Singapore, where she now trains at Evolve MMA.

“Lots of things have changed. Now that I live away from my family, I cook for myself and do all kinds of chores myself. I really miss the chutney that my mother used to make. Although I know how to cook and do it here every day, the taste of the food prepared by your mother cannot be matched by anything else.

“The most difficult thing was adapting to a new sport, which takes time and patience. But my wrestling background helped a bit. The good part about it has been the encouraging words and compliments I have received from my coaches and teammates.”

‘The Indian Tigress’ also disclosed her closest training buddy inside the world-renowned stable and how she helps her improve continously.

“There are so many people here from different countries, and I have a great relationship with them. We all are like a big family. I am closest to Brazil’s Maira Mazar, who has been like an older sister to me. We train together, and I have learned a lot from her. She scolds me when I make mistakes (laughs), but she teaches me a lot and explains to me when I make mistakes.”

Phogut narrated the experience she had coming in to her first ever professional bout as a mixed martial artist and how the win boosted her confidence in competing with the top contenders.

“I was really excited about the match, as it was my debut. I have competed in several wrestling matches, but competing in a mixed martial arts match was really new for me. I had decided to concentrate on my training and to give one hundred percent, and it paid off.

“My confidence increased by tenfold. Love from the fans inspires me to keep going. I talked to my father after the match, and he even had good things to say about the match, and he even had good things to say about the match. He added that I still need to work hard for the title and right now, I need to focus on my training.”

Now with a win across her name, Ritu Phogat gazes her sight to a potential title shot this year and vows to be ready to face anyone who will be a roadblock in her way to glory.

“My goal is to win the championship belt for India in mixed martial arts. I am working hard for this. I am learning something new every day and I am trying to concentrate more on my striking, so I hope I win it in 2020.

“I am training every day. It doesn’t matter who my opponent is, I am always up for it. It can be anyone. I am ready for a contest.”

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