“The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan has quickly established herself as a force to be reckoned with in ONE Championship.
She may have only had two bouts in the promotion, but she has already displayed why she may be its most dangerous female athlete.
The ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion has set the standard in her division with a pair of TKO victories. She finished April Osenio last December, and then stopped previously-undefeated Tiffany “No Chill” Teo in January.
Although fans have only seen a glimpse of her potential in the world’s biggest martial arts organization, the Chinese hero has shown attributes to prove why she belongs at the top of the heap.
Punching Power To Rival Any Woman In ONE
It is not a slight against the female superstars in ONE to say they do not possess the same force in their fists as some of their male counterparts.
The men are generally heavier, and simply throw more weight behind their punches, resulting in a greater quantity of blows that cause knockdowns and major damage.
Xiong is one of the exceptions to this rule. Her punches hit hard. You could almost feel the force as she landed big punches on Osenio and Teo.
When the 30-year-old stood toe-to-toe with Osenio, the match only lasted a few more seconds before the Filipina crumbled under the weight of the strikes she absorbed.
Teo lasted longer, but despite her history as a boxing champion, she was also overwhelmed.
She was hurt in the very first round because of Xiong’s power, and though she battled on valiantly, by round four, she simply could not take any more and referee Olivier Coste was forced to intervene.
Unbreakable And Unwavering Warrior Spirit
Sometimes, it seems like Xiong’s only thought is to walk forward and attack – whatever obstacles are in front of her.
Whether it is stepping straight ahead to strike, or trying to tie-up an opponent and initiate a grappling exchange, she always aims to be on the offensive.
On the occasions she has faced adversity, she has found a way to endure and get straight back to her task of swinging the bout in her favor.
When Teo threw a head kick that landed flush on her chin in round one, the Beijing, China native absorbed it with a shrug, and then got straight back to work.
Even a broken hand Xiong suffered in the second round could not stop her non-stop striking attack. Most people did not even notice she was seriously injured, because of the frequency with she continued to throw.
Seamless Transitions Between Striking And Grappling
As formidable as Xiong is on her feet, she is also a force to be reckoned with on the ground. “The Panda” is as happy to take a match to the mat as she is to stay standing.
From there, she can also unleash the stopping power of her fists and elbows.
In fact, the China Open BJJ Champion has sometimes shown that is her preference – shooting for the takedown or initiating scrambles to take the back.
Furthermore, when she is put on the defensive, Xiong has the ability to jump away from danger quickly. Escaping from the bottom or getting back to her feet does not seem to be a problem when she decides she wants to exchange strikes again.
Composure Under Pressure
It may not be an exaggeration to say Xiong is unflappable in the cage.
No matter the circumstances or the stakes, she sticks to her game plan and the task at hand with no obvious difficulty.
When Osenio took command against the cage early in their encounter, Xiong remained patient, conserved her energy, and waited for her moment to strike.
Also, in her bout with Teo, the Singaporean’s head kick was brushed off. Any time “No Chill” got the match to the canvas on her terms, Xiong took her time, minimized the damage she absorbed, and adjusted quickly.
Both bouts were high-pressure occasions, too. A ONE debut and world title match would have made other athletes nervous, but not this one.
An Instinct For Finishing and Strategy
Do not think Xiong’s success is merely the product of wild, offensive martial arts. She can pick her moments to strike or submit at just the right time for maximum effect.
“The Panda” came close to a successful guillotine against Osenio, but the Team Lakay product just managed to survive.
Xiong did not chase a lost cause, however. She hung on for long enough to make her opponent expend a lot of energy. When Osenio escaped the hold, the Chinese warrior followed her to the feet, where she was now more vulnerable to a finishing flurry.
Against Teo, she never expended too much energy, so she could stay fresh as the bout moved into the championship rounds. That’s despite the frantic pace of the bout.
Only when her Singaporean rival looked ready to be put away did she shift through the gears and unleash combinations to finally close the show.
That is what world champions are made of.