The ‘Indian tigress’ Ritu Phogat roared to victory in Beijing after she won her Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) debut in just a few minutes. At the One Championship's Age of Dragons MMA event in Beijing recently, the 25-year-old thrashed her South Korean opponent, Nam Hee Kim, in just under THREE minutes.
Ritu participated in the atomweight category and pinned Nam down on the floor within a few minutes of entering the ring. Even though Nam was on the defensive side from the beginning, Ritu was on top of her game.
Nam fought and got back on her feet but Ritu, as fearless as she was that day, for the second time showered her powerful punches and elbows till the referee awarded a technical knockout (TKO) win. And the Phogat sister emerged as a winner within a matter of minutes.
Ritu, who is the sister of wrestlers Geeta and Babita Phogat, won a gold medal at the 2016 Commonwealth Wrestling Championship. She was a strong contender for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. But, the wrestler-turned-MMA fighter decided to take up the combat sport. She started her journey only in February this year and has been receiving training at Evolve MMA facility in Singapore. According to media reports, Ritu is also learning Boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai.
In an interview before her MMA debut, Ritu said, "I want to win a World Championship belt for India. I want to be the first in mixed martial arts to win that for my country." So, for her, it’s all about becoming the first Indian World Champion in MMA, and that’s what motivated her to be the best. After she won, Ritu thanked her family for believing in her and motivating her. Speaking about her feat, she said that it was always her plan to go for the takedown early on and it worked.
Talking to a leading daily about how wrestling lessons came in handy during her MMA debut, she said, "It didn't feel any different than all the wrestling bouts I had competed in. I was just thinking about doing what I had been taught. And my wrestling set up my match perfectly." Ritu further stated that she chose AR Rahman’s Vande Mataram as her walkout song so that she is filled with enthusiasm before she entered the ring. Clearly, it worked!
Well, We hope Ritu’s wish will come true very soon. Ritu Phogat decided to ditch a path that brought fame to her family and it’s a courageous move.
Featured Image: ONE Championship/Instagram