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Indian wrestling icon Ritu Phogat set to make ONE Championship debut

Ritu Phogat, an internationally acclaimed wrestler from the famous Phogat family, is bringing the indomitable spirit of her lineage to the sport of mixed martial arts.

The most high profile Indian wrestler to transition to mixed martial arts, she will take part in her first professional bout at "ONE: AGE OF DRAGONS", a marquee martial arts event organized by ONE Championship, to be held in Beijing on 16th November.

Photo Courtesy - ONE 

Phogat is a champion wrestler and top women’s mixed martial arts prospect who comes from a family of martial artists. She began training in wrestling at the age of eight under the guidance of her father, Mahavir Singh Phogat. The 2016 blockbuster Indian sports film, Dangal, was loosely based on her family's sporting heritage and accomplishments in wrestling.

Additionally, Phogat earned a gold medal at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships, a silver medal at the World U23 Wrestling World Championships, a bronze medal at the Asian Wrestling Championships, and multiple Indian National Wrestling Championships.

In early 2019, Phogat decided to challenge herself in the emerging sport of mixed martial arts. She signed with ONE Championship, the largest martial arts organization in the world. After months of hard training at Evolve MMA in Singapore, she is finally ready to step into the ONE Circle.

Speaking about her foray into mixed martial arts, Phogat said, "For me it is a completely new sport, as I only knew how to wrestle before coming to Singapore. I have been training hard here with my coaches to  learn the new martial arts forms to prepare myself as a mixed martial artist. Now it is time to put whatever I have learned into action.

"I just want to say that I am very happy that ONE has given me an opportunity to represent my country in MMA and I will try my best to win as many matches for my country in my journey as mixed martial artist."

Facing her will be Cindy Tiong, a veteran kickboxer from Malaysia who is also making her professional mixed martial arts debut.

This classic clash of striker versus grappler in the ONE atomweight division (weight limit 52.2 kg) will set the stage for the emergence of a new contender for the division’s throne. The reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion is none other than Angela Lee from Singapore, who has held the championship belt for more than three years.

In a division dominated by athletes of diverse striking backgrounds, Phogat stands out with her wrestling abilities, which in mixed martial arts translates to great endurance and grappling skill. She holds the potential to become the first ever world champion from India in a major global promotion -- a feat that will be groundbreaking for Indian mixed martial arts. Just by stepping into the ONE Circle, Phogat is already an inspiration for sportspersons and women across the country.

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