The wait is almost over for Indian martial arts fans for one of the country’s favorite sporting daughters to make her mixed martial arts debut.
No one is looking forward to the match in Beijing, China more than Phogat herself – even if she does admit she is feeling the pressure a little bit.
“I am really excited for my debut,” the 25-year-old says.
“Of course, I am a bit nervous as well, but that is normal before any match. I am really excited to make my debut on a grand stage like ONE Championship.”
One thing that has helped to make her more comfortable ahead of her date at the Cadillac Arena is the knowledge that she has left no stone unturned in her preparation, and she will begin her martial arts career with a tremendous set of skills.
Her wrestling is already at a higher level than just about every other athlete in the women’s atomweight division thanks to her training since the age of 8 under her father, which led her to honors including a Commonwealth Wrestling Championships gold medal.
In contrast, she had to build her striking and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu abilities from the ground up in the past year. However, she could not have found a more decorated team of instructors than the coaches at Evolve in Singapore, and they have given her the tools to make sure she can compete in every area of her new sport.
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“I am fully prepared for this fight. I have been training a lot, and learn something new every day,” she explains.
“I’ve trained in Muay Thai, boxing, BJJ. I am also working on my strength and conditioning as well, and I am improving day by day. You will see me at my best on 16 November.”
Despite her confidence, the Balali native is sure she will face a stiff test of her abilities when she steps into the ring in Beijing against Kim.
The 20-year-old may not have a background in martial arts as extensive as Phogat, but she has trained striking and BJJ for three years, and will have a height and reach advantage.
She has also put her skills to the test as a professional – the SSENGYM and Daechon Jiu-Jitsu representative is fresh off a win in her debut this August.
However, “The Indian Tigress” has done her research and listened to her coaches, so she will come armed with a game plan to neutralize her rival’s strengths, exploit her weaknesses, and get her hand raised.
“I have watched her videos, but I am really confident about my training and I believe in it,” Phogat adds.
“I just want to go out there and give my best.”
Phogat feels that she has to prove herself in her new sport after leaving wrestling behind, and live up to the expectations of all of her fans, but she has no doubt she can do that.
She also believes that her success can help the popularity of mixed martial arts explode in India, so she has asked her compatriots to get behind her, and help to usher in a new era for her, and ONE Championship,
“I would just like to ask for their love and support once again, like they have been doing for all these years,” she says.
“I am upbeat about the match, so don’t forget to watch it.”