In Tokyo, Japan, the Chinese star will challenge “Unstoppable” Angela Lee for the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title at the biggest martial arts event of all time.
There is also no bigger rematch in women’s mixed martial arts, and it gives “The Panda” the chance to write her name in the history books by claiming her second belt on the global stage.
The scale of her challenge and the hype around it means that there is a ton of pressure on the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion’s shoulders, but as she asserts, that comes with the territory, and she has to carry it and try to put a positive spin on it.
“I stress a lot and tend to over-think things. I do not want to disappoint the people who love and support me,” Xiong says.
”There is a lot of pressure. The important thing is that I use it as motivation to win.”
Though the 30-year-old is cool and composed when she walks to the Circle on event night, she admits that is a complete contrast to how she sometimes feels during her training.
The Shandong native says that can feel some doubts about her ability to get through her rigorous training regime and perform under the lights. However, she has some contrasting methods to refill her confidence.
The first is to get psyched up with some tough love, and that is most effective when it comes from herself.
“One good habit I have is to transform these thoughts into my driving force,” she explains.
“I might say something vicious to myself as a twisted version of a pep talk. To give you an example, I could say to myself in the mirror, ‘Xiong Jing Nan, can you do it or not? If not, you better be dead.’
“Sometimes I use abusive words. It’s useful when I need a push. Like when I’m really tired or feeling lazy, if someone can throw these belittling words to my face, suddenly I’m provoked to continue. But I have to do this myself. I always tell myself what to do.”
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Her other ways of coping with the stresses of training camp are found on the opposite side of the coin.
The Bali MMA representative also tries to overcome her doubts and anxieties through more tranquil techniques.
“Reading books can help to relieve the pressure. Also, writing notes – putting any negative thoughts in a notebook to let them go,” she reveals
“Listening to some music with good lyrics, and picturing something wonderful helps, too.”
Her methods clearly work because she is undefeated in The Home Of Martial Arts. “The Panda’s” winning run peaked in her last bout against Lee when she retained her belt against her toughest challenger yet.
At ONE: CENTURY, Xiong will be the challenger, and she suggests more pressure will be on her rival as she attempts to hang on to her belt. With that said, the Chinese hero recognizes there will still be plenty of expectation from her team and her fans to repeat the result of their first meeting and get her hand raised again.
“The Panda” accepts that. She is experienced at keeping a level head and drawing strength from the cyclone of attention around her to power her performances, and she expects to do the same again on 13 October.
“Mostly I use [the pressure] for motivation, and to get me excited,” she says.
“I am not out to prove anything. I just have a dream and have to keep improving. I believe in myself. I will definitely perform even better and win the match.”
Tokyo | 13 October | ONE: CENTURY | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: https://onechampionship.zaiko.io/e/onecentury
ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history with 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts. No organization in history has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events on the same day.
The Home Of Martial Arts will break new ground as it brings multiple World Title bouts, a trio of World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches to the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.