MUMBAI: Indian wrestling superstar Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat made a successful mixed martial arts and ONE Championship debut, putting together a dominant performance en route to a technical knockout victory over South Korea’s Nam Hee Kim.
Phogat immediately scored on a takedown in the opening seconds of the bout. She executed another successful takedown moments later, this time keeping Kim on the mat and proceeding to deal damage with ground-and-pound. After securing the mounted crucifix position, Phogat pounded Kim out until the referee intervened.
After her dominant debut victory, Ritu, who hails from the hallowed Phogat family known for their excellence in wrestling, thanked them, "I want to thank my sisters and my family, they believed in me and motivated me... I want thank everyone for their support, I promise I'll always give my one hundred percent."
Speaking about the bout afterwords, Ritu said it was always her plan to go for the takedown at the very beginning, "I believed that if I got her down early, I could finish her via ground and pound. The plan worked."
Asked what she wanted to do next, she said, "I have only one goal and that's to win the ONE Atomweight World Championship for my country. That's why I chose A R Rahman's 'Vande Mataram' as my walkout song, listening to it fills me with enthusiasm and makes me want to do something for India. For me it's all about becoming the first Indian world champion in MMA."
With a newly minted victory in her record where she did not take any damage, Ritu felt she needed to continue her training and gather more experience, "I am going back to Singapore where my training will continue in Evolve MMA. I hope to get back in the ring soon and down the line I want to challenge the current champion Angela Lee for the world title."
Angela Lee, who hails from Singapore, has been the ONE Atomweight World Champion for more than three years. But she has never had defend her belt against a world class wrestler like Ritu Phogat, which makes their potential clash a highly intriguing bout; and a historic occasion for Indian MMA.