Last Saturday, Indian wrestling star made her presence felt in the world of MMA when she defeated Nam Hee Kim via TKO in the first round at ONE: Age of Dragons in Beijing, China.
This was Ritu Phogat’s professional debut. Ritu dominated South Korea’s Nam Hee Kim right from the beginning. As soon as the opening round bell rang, she went for the takedown and then secured the mounted crucifix position after which Phogat followed up with numerous punches to Kim’s face until the referee intervened.
Ritu signed with ONE championship earlier this year and since then there has been a lot of hype surrounding her and rightfully so, as she comes from a wrestling royalty, her elder sisters Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari have won gold medals for India at CWG and Asian games and have represented India at a high level. Ritu herself as won a gold medal at the commonwealth wrestling championship in 2016 and a bronze medalist at the Asian championship.
However, the career change from Wrestling to MMA has been something that neither of Ritu’s siblings had chosen and MMA in India lacked a star power to whom people could look up to and get inspiration from. MMA India show had the opportunity to catch up with Ritu Phogat where she discussed the reason behind switching to MMA.
“I chose this game because whenever I used to watch MMA, I used to wonder why there was no world champion from our country. So that’s why decided to switch to Mixed Martial Arts and I hope after my fight, more people will be interested in MMA,
“Many people don’t have knowledge about the sport, so when they watch my fights and young fans will also be motivated to take up the sport and in few years the sport will become very popular,” Ritu said.
Currently, Ritu fights in the strawweight category and the title is being held by Angela Lee who has a professional record of 10-2 and is coming off of a submission win over Jingnang Xiong last month.
“I am training hard and I hope to fight her [Angela Lee] soon and I am training very hard and I am very focused and I hope to fight her within a year,” Ritu concluded.
“Right now, I am recovering and training, so whenever ONE championship gives me the next fight, I will be ready,” Ritu said when asked about her next fight.
Do you guys think she will become India’s first-ever MMA champion?