MMA India Exclusive: Ritu Phogat: India will be able to produce and nurture world-class martial artists

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Photo Credits: Inside Sport

MMA India caught up with wrestling daughter of the nation Ritu Phogat, who is currently training out of EVOLVE MMA in Singapore ahead of her pro MMA debut at ONE Championship’s November 16th event.

She will be taking on another debutant in kickboxer Cindy Tiong.

Q) You belong to wrestling royalty and your family has produced some of the greatest wrestlers in India. How was the transition to MMA?

It is going well. It’s my background in wrestling that got me to where I am today. Wrestling has helped me a lot in this transition. I am also learning other forms of martial arts like Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as well. So hopefully I can apply all that I have learnt successfully during my first match.

Q) Did you have ample support from your family members when you decided to quit wrestling to try a sport that is still unknown to the majority of Indians?

Yes of course, they have always supported me. This transition wouldn’t have been possible without them. They have always respected my interests and I always have their blessings. They told me whatever you do, just excel at it and win as much as you can for your country.

Q) How many times do you see yourself fighting in a year?

I am not thinking about how many. I only know I will always give my 100% whenever ONE offers me a match and I will be ready.

Q) Although the opponent your fight next month is already set, do you have anyone specific in the ONE championship roster, you would like to fight?

I am taking it one fight at a time. As I said, whenever ONE decides on a suitable opponent for me, I will be prepared and be ready for it.

Q) You’re a fantastic wrestler – how do you feel the other aspects of your MMA game have developed?

Thank you for your kind words. Wrestling helped to build a strong foundation for my transition to MMA. But I am learning other forms of martial arts and working towards improving my striking and grappling game every day. I will apply whatever I have learnt on the 16th.

Q) How has your experience at EVOLVE fight team been? Who are your coaches and how do you get along with them?

It’s been very good. I really enjoy my training. I have learnt so much in such a short span of time. All credit goes to the instructors at EVOLVE. All the World Champion instructors from Muay Thai, boxing, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu who have taught me the ins and outs of their respective martial arts. I feel honoured to be training with all of them.

Q) After experiencing state of the art training and facilities at EVOLVE, do you plan to implement any such training facilities in India?

My priority in this instance is to work towards becoming a good and well-rounded MMA athlete. It would be fantastic to have such a great training facility in India as I believe more players will join the MMA bandwagon and India will be able to produce and nurture more world-class martial artists.


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