New Delhi, Nov 14 (IANS) Indian wrestling superstar Ritu Phogat is set to make her professional mixed martial arts debut when she takes on Korea’s Nam Hee Kim in an atomweight contest. The pair faced-off on Thursday at an open workout and are scheduled to meet in the ONE Championship ring at ONE: AGE OF DRAGONS, which will take place on November 16, at the Cadillac Arena in Beijing, China.
Ahead of Phogat’s first foray into the mixed martial arts arena, the 25-year-old details how she envisions her path unfolding in a new sport, her ultimate goal, and how she plans to accomplish the mission she has set for herself.
“No question, I want to become a mixed martial arts World Champion, and everything I’m doing now is preparing me for that,” said Phogat.
“I made the decision to jump into this with my full heart and will. My goal is to become the first Indian woman to win a mixed martial arts World Championship. I believe I’m in a great position to represent my country and I want to inspire as many women as I can. It’s an honour,” she added.
Phogat is already an accomplished athlete, having garnered multiple accolades throughout her competition career. She is a Commonwealth Wrestling Championships Gold Medalist, World U23 Wrestling World Championships Silver Medalist, Asian Wrestling Championships Bronze Medalist, and multiple-time Indian National Wrestling Champion.
Hailing from Haryana, Phogat is widely-regarded as one of India’s top sports superstars and one of the most talented wrestlers in the world. Her sisters Geeta, Babita Kumari, and Sangeeta as well as cousin Vinesh are also wrestling champions. The Phogat family was the subject of the 2016 blockbuster film, ‘Dangal’, which told the story of Indian wrestling pioneer Mahavir Singh Phogat based loosely on real-life events.
Already a recognisable face in her home country, Phogat now enters the international arena. She looks to make her presence known.
“One of my goals is to bring honour to Indian martial arts. I think it’s really important that we celebrate my country’s culture and history and I really hope I can represent that well on the global stage,” said Phogat.
“I have big plans, but first, I have to take care of business against an opponent who wants to spoil the party. I’ve prepared well for this, but this is my first time, and we’ll have to see where I’m at after this fight,” she concluded.
ONE: AGE OF DRAGONS will be aired on Star Sports Select 2 on November 16, starting at 2:30 p.m. IST. The main card, featuring Ritu Phogat’s ONE debut, will begin at 4:00 p.m.