Xiong Jing Nan and Ritu Phogat

5 Must-Know Facts About Xiong Jing Nan And Ritu Phogat

Christian Jacinto | Apr 26, 2021 |

On the upcoming seventh episode of ‘The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition,” the women will take center stage.

Dropping by to join the global candidates in the physical challenge are two of the best female athletes in ONE today – ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan and wrestling icon Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat.

But exactly who are these two women outside of the Circle? Here are five facts you must know about the duo before Episode 7 airs this Thursday at 8:50 p.m. on AXN.

#1 Evolve MMA’s Finest

Xiong Jing Nan and Ritu Phogat represent Evolve

It’s no secret that Evolve MMA is the go-to destination for martial arts training in Singapore, so it should be no surprise that these two ladies have found their way to the gym.

Coming from different parts of Asia, the pair of star athletes train together at Evolve MMA, where they have been transformed into dominant forces in their respective divisions.

Xiong hasn’t lost since competing under the Evolve banner, while Phogat remains undefeated in her mixed martial arts career.

#2 First-Ever Chinese Mixed Martial Arts World Champion

ONE Women's Strawweight World Champion Xiong Jing Nan

In January 2018, Xiong made history by becoming China’s first Mixed Martial Arts World Champion when she beat Tiffany “No Chill” Teo for the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title.

“The Panda” continued to dominate from there, beating her next three challengers with ease, including reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee in March 2019.

With the way she’s going, Xiong looks poised to hold on to her strap for a long time. 

#3 Real Life Hero

If there’s one athlete who can say she was cut from an action film, it’s Xiong. 

The 33-year-old’s journey to martial arts started when she was inspired by early action movies where the heroes stood up for the oppressed. One particular film caught her eye – “The Swordsman,” a 1990 Hong Kong action film, and she has tried to embody all the values she saw in the movie.

For example, there was an instance in Beijing where she stood up against city inspectors who she felt “went too far” in policing vendors. She took matters into her own hands, retrieved the confiscated goods, and set things right.  

#4 Wrestling Machine

Indian wrestling icon Ritu Phogat unloads ground and pound on Nou Srey Pov

As for Phogat, the Indian has a completely different martial arts style than Xiong altogether.

Phogat, who is the daughter of legendary Indian wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat, has been one of the best pure grapplers in the women’s atomweight division. In fact, before she made the transition to mixed martial arts, she won the 2016 Commonwealth Wrestling Championship in Singapore.

In all of her matches in ONE, that wrestling base couldn’t be any more noticeable. With it, she ran through everyone she’s faced so far, beating them in part with her top-notch grappling.

“The Indian Tigress” now has her sights set on the upcoming ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix, which kicks off this May and grants the winner a shot at Lee’s coveted belt.

#5 Indian Superstar

Phogat’s superstardom lives off the mats as well.

Because of her father’s wrestling fame in India, her family became the subject of the 2016 Bollywood movie “Dangal,” a biographical sports drama film that depicts the hardships the Phogat family had to go through to make it to the Commonwealth Games.

In ONE Championship, “The Indian Tigress” will now look to write her own success story, but not before she and Xiong push the remaining global candidates to their limits this Thursday on “The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition.”

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