Wrestling phenom Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat has quickly made a name for herself as a mixed martial artist inside the Circle.
However, fans might not know too much about the India native away from competition.
#1 She Favors The Springtime
Phogat always looks forward to the ancient Hindu festival of Holi, a celebration that marks the beginning of spring after a long winter.
The festival, which began on 10 March this year, is also known as “the festival of spring,” “the festival of love,” and “the festival of colors.”
“I like Holi the most because of all the colors and water,” the 26-year-old says. “Last time I was in India, I played Holi with my sisters. Everyone was there. We played with colors and danced a lot.”
#2 She Works Out To The Soundtrack Of Her Family’s Life
When “The Indian Tigress” is on the mats, she listens to the songs from two popular Indian wrestling movies.
One of those is “Sultan,” a drama about a middle-aged wrestler who abandons the sport he loves after his son dies, only to attempt to recapture his glory on the mats years later.
The second soundtrack is from “Dangal,” an Indian wrestling movie based on the life story of Phogat’s own family.
#3 She Loves To Grapple With A ‘Panda’
View this post on Instagram
My Corner team for my game last night. Also a big thank you to everyone who are constantly helping me achieve my dreams. And the dream goes on. P.S – Love you dad ???? #mma #india #onechampionship #evolvemma #Weareone #birbalsports #daddycool #indiantigress #martialarts #respect #honor #integrity
That’s right – Phogat’s closest training partner at Evolve MMA is ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan, who will also be competing at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX in the first of four World Title matches.
“She treats me like her younger sister, and we have a great bond,” the Indian says.
Phogat also has strong relationships with three other Evolve standouts.
#4 She Got Over Her Greatest Fear
????♀???????? RITU’S WORLD – EPISODE 5 ????????????Indian wrestling superstar and "Dangal" darling Ritu Phogat visits the young wrestlers at the Mahavir Phogat Sports Academy to teach classes and discuss her World Championship aspirations ????
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, November 29, 2019
Although the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships Gold Medalist isn’t afraid of much nowadays, she was once fearful of her family’s patriarch.
As she got older and wiser, however, that fear slowly faded away.
“There’s nothing that scares me,” she says. “My father still scolds us, but he knows that we are smart enough now.”
- St-Pierre, Askren, Gracie To Appear As Special Guests On ‘The Apprentice’
- Nou Srey Pov Prepared For Ritu Phogat’s Elite Wrestling Skills
- 5 Reasons Why You Can’t Miss ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX
#5 She Has A Pre-Bout Ritual
Given Phogat’s superb wrestling background, you might think that opponents would say a prayer before entering the Circle against her.
According to “The Indian Tigress,” though, it’s actually the other way around.
“I don’t have any superstitions, but yes, I do pray before my matches,” she says.
#6 Her Favorite Indian Cricketer
Tens of millions of Indians watch cricket, and Phogat is one of them.
Her favorite player is Virat Kohli, who captains three-time Indian Premier League runner-ups Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Indian National Cricket Team.
“I like the hard work and effort he puts into his captaincy for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL,” Phogat says. “I watch his training videos on social media as well.”
#7 Cats Or Dogs?
All you need is love and a cat #cuteness #cutiepie #mylove #funtimes
Posted by Ritu Phogat on Thursday, February 7, 2019
Many athletes in ONE love their furry friends, and Phogat is no different. But if asked to choose, she’d go with a feline over a canine.
“I like both cats and dogs a lot. But if I have to keep one, I will keep a cat,” she says.
The wrestling standout actually had a cat named Bella while she was still in India, but unfortunately, she passed away while Phogat was in Singapore.
“I asked my family if I should keep one here,” Phogat adds of her current home in “The Lion City.” “But they asked me not to because of the attachment.”
#8 Her Favorite Discipline After Wrestling?
The Indian wrestling sensation has years of experience on the mats, so when it’s time to focus on training, she puts the wrestling aside and chooses another grappling discipline.
“My favorite has to be BJJ,” she says.
Phogat may need those submission skills in her match on Friday night when she steps into the Circle against one of Cambodia’s most dangerous strikers.
#9 Future Movie Goals
View this post on Instagram
“I am a strong woman. I don’t sit around feeling sorry for myself, nor let people mistreat me. I don’t respond to people who dictate to me or try to bring me down. If I fall I will rise up even stronger because I am survivor and not a victim. I am in control of my life and there is nothing I can’t achieve.” . . #selfconfidence #selfpositivity #proudbeti #indiangirl #mylife #myrules #ilovemyself #first #bekind #behumble #bepositive #bestrong #loveyourselffirst #???????? #❤️
Phogat’s family is already the subject of a film. So, if a movie exec from India comes knocking at her door again, what would she like them to produce next?
“I would like ‘Dangal 2’ to be made, which shows my sister and dad’s journey and dream,” she says.
“If it is a biopic about me, then I would like to play myself, as no one knows about my journey and struggles better than me.”