Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat’s two-pronged approach in raising India’s banner in mixed martial arts starts this Friday, December 2 at ONE: WINTER WARRIORS when she takes on Stamp Fairtex in their much awaited ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship Final.
Winning the inaugural Women’s World Grand Prix is the #4-ranked atomweight’s foremost mission. Then, she will complete her quest to become the first Indian Women’s Mixed Martial Arts World Champion by defeating divisional queen “Unstoppable” Angela Lee.
With the road to glory now under her feet, the fighter out of Evolve MMA is focused on finishing the last, yet most challenging, mile.
“This is very important. This is going to be a very proud thing for my whole country because I will be the first woman to win a Grand Prix belt,” the Singapore-based Phogat told ONEFC.com.
“I am feeling very good. The goal I had before coming here, I am very close to it. I want to give my best in this match and, very soon, [fulfill the] aim I had of becoming a champion. “I will open a new path for all of the younger generation.”
The match is billed as a quintessential grappler versus striker clash. Phogat has more than a decade of experience in wrestling after devoting herself to the sport for almost a lifetime as part of India’s well-known Phogat wrestling family.
On the other hand, Stamp – the division’s #2-ranked contender – is considered by many as the best striker in the division, especially after previously winning the ONE Women’s Atomweight Kickboxing and Muay Thai World Titles.
While the 2016 Commonwealth Games gold medalist acknowledges the danger that Stamp presents striking-wise, she’s confident that when it comes to wrestling, the Thai has little chance in handling her mastery.
“Stamp Fairtex has never faced an opponent with my wrestling credentials and pedigree. I have developed my wrestling game by learning the craft over a period that spans over a decade and a half,” she said.
“I do not believe that a single training camp would bring Stamp to my level of expertise as far as wrestling is concerned. She would have to dedicate a considerable chunk of her life to wrestling to match steps with me.”
While “The Indian Tigress” doesn’t feel like it’s proper to claim victory ahead of their showdown, she’s confident with her chances and promises to go for the finishing blows.
“It would be unsporting of me to assume my victory, although I am highly confident of getting the job done on the big night,” Phogat said.
“I want to finish the match no matter how, be it knockout or submission, and I want to finish it as soon as possible.”
Catch ONE: WINTER WARRIORS LIVE on One Sports or One Sports+ at 8:30 p.m. Philippine Standard Time (PHT) on Friday, December3.
It will also air simultaneously on NE’s YouTube channel and the ONE Super App.