The challenges keep coming for “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan (15-1).
Ever since winning the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship this year, she has been on a mission to showcase “the power of Chinese martial arts.”
Why Xiong Jing Nan is the present & future of Chinese martial arts ????????Shanghai | 8 September | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, August 13, 2018
To do that, Xiong must continue to defend the title, and she realizes that is becoming an increasingly daunting task.
“Sometimes, it is not that difficult to reach the top, but remaining on top is the most difficult thing to do,” the 30-year-old says.
“The world is hearing my voice from China, but I cannot do this without my people’s support.”
Fortunately, her support will be greater than ever in her next bout, as her upcoming title defense will take place in front of her compatriots.
Xiong will put the ONE Strawweight World Title on the line against Samara “Marituba” Santos (12-5-1) in the main event of ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON, which broadcasts live from the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China, on Saturday, 8 September.
The punching "Panda" has done it! Xiong Jing Nan successfully defends her ONE Strawweight World Championship with a superb unanimous decision victory!Watch the full event LIVE & FREE on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, June 23, 2018
While the Chinese hero earned a pair of stoppage victories in her first two promotional bouts, including her World Title win, she recently proved that she was capable of dominating an opponent over the course of five rounds without tiring.
In June, at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER in Macau, “The Panda” was forced to go the full 25 minutes against Argentinian challenger Laura “La Gladiadora” Balin, who survived through extended periods of domination to reach the final bell.
Victory was never in doubt for the reigning World Champion, but the durability of her foe did take her by surprise.
“She is very tough. Her ground game is very good, and her power was stronger than I expected,” Xiong recalls.
“To be honest, I was not very happy about [the decision victory] because in the third round, I thought I could have finished her.
“The match did not go the way I expected. I wanted to finish her so badly, but I was not patient enough.”
An elite athlete will always find faults in their performance, and “The Panda” has found that finishes do not always come easily at the top level. However, her disappointment has only motivated her to continue improving so she can get a stoppage victory at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON.
However, she will need to be careful, especially since her forthcoming adversary has developed a reputation as a finisher, too.
Santos, who comes from Marituba, Brazil, has six knockouts and two submission victories to her credit.
Also, the 25-year-old is a Salcaterra Marajo Fight Champion in her home nation, which has a long history of producing elite mixed martial artists like Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes and Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes.
That has not deterred Xiong from her mission, though.
The Beijing native, who trains at Alliance China and Bali MMA, is determined to put on a more definitive showing, though she does not want to give away the strategy she plans to use to defend her belt.
“I am pretty sure we both will give our best for this one,” she says.
Another successful title defense would undoubtedly continue to elevate Xiong’s status.
She is focused on the task at hand and continuing to dominate her division, but she is also contemplating one of the biggest bouts in ONE history.
An emphatic victory for “The Panda” over Santos could bring a dream match with ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee a little closer.
“She is an opponent I really respect,” Xiong says.
“I believe we could learn from each other, and I hope we will be facing each other in the near future.”
Shanghai | 8 September | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast