Indonesia’s Nita Dea is ambitious. A national wrestling champion and three-time national sanda champion, Dia is prepared to make her professional mixed martial arts debut against Rika “Tinydoll” Ishige at ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES on Friday, 26 May, inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The 26-year-old was not supposed to make her grand premiere so quickly, but when Jomary Torres was forced to withdraw from her atomweight bout against Rika “Tinydoll” Ishige, she jumped at the chance to replace her.
However, when Dea takes to the cage in Singapore, the nerves, anticipation and bright lights of fight night will not be new to her. After all, she has been competing her entire life.
Growing up in the hills of Indonesia in the province of West Java, the BO.S.S Kickboxing representative was first exposed to martial arts, namely wrestling, when she went to high school, as she was only ever really interested in her sports lessons.
“I always aspired to be a professional athlete,” Dea says.
Unlike many ONE Championship athletes, especially the women, her interests were immediately accepted by her family, who were happy for her to be involved. With this support and the enjoyment she garnered from her time on the mats, the Bandung native soon began to see the benefits.
She cites discipline and mental fortitude as two of the traits that wrestling gave her. As the famous Dan Gable said: ’Once you have wrestled, everything else in life is easy.’ En route to a pair of national wrestling championships, the hunger for competition and the taste of success became part of her psyche.
Dea had found her calling, and it was cemented when she met Reza Pratama, a wushu coach, who laid the foundations of her mixed martial arts career. The female warrior has been at BO.S.S Kickboxing ever since.
The Indonesian has also racked up some quality hardware. Since 2010, she has added three national sanda titles to her resume, along with an unbeaten kickboxing record and a handful of Muay Thai bouts.
Despite being a newcomer to ONE Championship, she is actually more versed in the competitive arena than her 1-0 adversary.
“I accepted the fight, because I have long wanted to compete in mixed martial arts at the level of ONE Championship, and I have always followed the promotion’s development through social media,” she says. “It is an incredible feeling.”
Her Thai opponent’s impressive debut saw her stop Audreylaura Boniface via TKO in the very first round, using an impressive grappling attack to secure a ground and pound finish at ONE: WARRIOR KINGDOM in March.
Dea recognizes the skill “Tinydoll” brings to the table with a good Brazilian jiu-jitsu game, but years of wrestling and striking could be the antidote to keep the fight on the feet.
“I have practiced counters to try and have a stand up fight,” she notes.
Her extensive background should set her in good stead for mixed martial arts, and this is the path she wants to pursue in combat sports. With a versatile skill set already in place, how she holds up under the pressure of a huge ONE event will be interesting.
Dea has big goals she wants to accomplish in this sport, and she hopes her debut bout on short notice will set her on the right path.
“Long term, I wish to be the best in my weight class,” Dea states, confidently.