Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat has crafted the perfect start to her professional mixed martial arts career, and now, the 25-year-old wants to take the toughest tests and continue her rise up the women’s atomweight ranks.
The Commonwealth Wrestling Championships gold medalist has already achieved a lot since her transition into the sport in 2019.
Phogat relocated from India to Singapore to train full-time at Evolve, added new techniques to her already formidable arsenal, and picked up back-to-back wins in ONE Championship.
At 2-0, she is still a fresh face in the sport of mixed martial arts, but her lifetime in wrestling has given her a competitive fire that cannot be extinguished, and she wants to take it all the way.
ONE Championship: How have you been keeping yourself fit since this pandemic started?
Ritu Phogat: I have kept a schedule for myself, and I am following it strictly. The schedule includes functional training like yoga, cardio, and strength.
ONE: And how are you improving your martial arts skills?
RP: My coach gave me a few drills to do at home to sharpen my focus and movements, and eventually it will help in improving my skills. Also, I am shadow boxing and practicing my kicks a few times a week to improve my movements.
ONE: We know you are eager to make your return to action. Is there anyone, in particular, you want to face next?
RP: Every athlete in ONE Championship who I haven’t faced before in my weight category, I would like to face them one at a time. Whichever opponent ONE and my coaches deem fit for me, I am open to face them.
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ONE: Stamp Fairtex has proven herself in Muay Thai and kickboxing, and now she is doing tremendously well in mixed martial arts. If you were to face her, how would that go?
RP: Stamp is a very talented athlete. I really like her zeal for martial arts. She is already a World Champion in two sports, and there is so much to learn from her. If I happen to have a match with her, it would be really exciting for everyone, including for both of us.
We both have our strengths. She has more experience in the Circle than me right now, but I think both of us will have to adapt to different styles, as she is very good in Muay Thai and kickboxing, so she will definitely take the game to her strengths. When I face her, I have to definitely step up my game in striking.
ONE: Stamp has been victorious against various Indian athletes, like Asha Roka and Puja Tomar. Would you like to return the favor any time soon?
RP: As I said, she is a very, very good athlete, and of course when the time comes, I would love to compete against her.
My dream is to become World Champion one day and to do that, I have to go up against every top athlete here and win. So whenever ONE decides to get me a match with Stamp, I promise you I will be ready to face her.
ONE: Is there anything you would like to tell your fans?
RP: Of course I want to perform competitively, but the world is going through a tough time and first, we all need to fight the virus together.
Once we come out victorious together, the world will once again witness the beauty of martial arts. We all are in this together, and we will overcome it together.