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Woman Crush Wednesday: Rika Ishige

Rika “Tiny Doll” Ishige may not look like the stereotypical mixed martial artist with her petite 159-centimeter frame and near-constant smile. However, if she has taught fans one thing, it is that you should never judge a book by its cover.

The Thai-Japanese star made her ONE Championship debut back in 2017, and she instantly earned legions of supporters with her courageous performances and slick repertoire.

As a matter of fact, she earned back-to-back first-round victories in her first two contests on the global stage.

Since then, Ishige has been on a constant quest for improvement. Success is rarely linear, but the Bangkok native’s strong will and infectious beam have never faltered.

With that in mind, we explore why “Tiny Doll” is such an endearing figure for fans across the world.

A Fearless Human Being

Ishige’s mixed heritage made her a target for bullies when she was in high school, where older kids verbally and physically abused her. However, she refused to be their victim forever.

“Tiny Doll” could not change her oppressors, so she decided to change herself. She took up martial arts training, and gained the confidence and skills she needed to look after herself.

Now Ishige preaches empathy to others, but she also advocates the many positives of martial arts to anybody who may be in the same situation.

A Thai Mixed Martial Arts Pioneer

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Failure will never overtake you if your determination to suceed is strong enough. . Have a good weekend guys !! ???? . ความพ่ายแพ้จะไม่มีวันทำให้คุณยอมแพ้ได้ หากความมุ่งมั่นที่จะสำเร็จของคุณ มัน " แข็งแกร่ง " มากพอ สุขสันต์วันหยุดค่ะทุกคน ☺ Cr.???? @freedomshots #RikaTinyDoll #RikaIshige #ริกะอิชิเกะ #onechampionship #mmafighter #RikaBFL #RikaSmilingAssassin #nakmuayying #nakmuay #bangkok #Thailand #mma #femalefighter #mmagirl #muaythai #boxing #fighterlife

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As a small female in the male-dominated world of Thai combat sports, Ishige had to go the extra mile to prove that she belonged. She stuck with it, and then she blazed a trail for others to follow.

The 30-year-old started out with traditional disciplines such as aikido and karate, and then she took an interest in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts.

This led her to ONE Championship in March 2017, where she became the first professional female mixed martial artist from Thailand to grace the Circle. In her promotional debut, she defeated Audreylaura Boniface at ONE: WARRIOR KINGDOM in her hometown of Bangkok.

A True Cosplayer

Ishige’s performances begin the very second she steps into an arena. She is famous for her exciting walkouts — which, of course, come with the customary “Tiny Doll” grin.

The Thai has made her way down the ramp in various cosplay outfits, which include martial arts legend Bruce Lee, Chun-Li from Capcom’s Street Fighter, and the Pink Ranger from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

Also, she posts pictures of her marvelous cosplays on her official Instagram page, like this rendition of Harley Quinn.

A Greatest Hits Collection

Finally, take a look at some of the best action shots and grand entrances from Ishige’s tenure in ONE Championship, and don’t forget to wish her a Happy Birthday on Friday, 4 April.

Read more: Woman Crush Wednesday: Janet Todd