Gina Iniong will be an interested spectator when the ONE Championship atomweight Grand Prix finally gets underway this year. The Filipina is sitting on the sidelines after giving birth to a child but is excited to watch the upcoming tournament,

“Seeing the best atomweights in the world compete against one another will be a treat and a proof of how competitive the division has gotten,” she said.

While she won’t be fighting in the immediate future the 32 year old is definitely not retired. In fact she is already preparing herself mentally to take on ONE Championship’s top atomweights and thinks the tournament will keep her on her toes,

“But it also tells me that I always have to prepare for the worst knowing how dangerous each of these women are if ever I face any of them.”

Full time job

Iniong’s daughter was born seven months ago so looking after her is a full time job for the Team Lakay representative. But she is still keeping in shape ahead of a potential ONE Championship comeback,

“Despite my busy days as a mom, I know I still have to keep myself fit and train here at home since we have a mini gym here. I have to keep on working if I want to be as competitive as I was back then,” she said.

The addition of fighters like Seo Hee Ham, Alyona Rassohyna, Julie Mezabarba and Alyse Anderson has certainly made the division a more competitive place. But while Iniong is unable to compete at the moment she has still been learning some valuable lessons,

“I have learned to manage my time wisely. It’s the same with my energy, I knew how to approach things better,” the 32-year-old said.

More motivated

Angela Lee gave birth earlier this year and has stated that she hopes to be back in action before 2022. The surge in Covid-19 cases in Singapore has put the ONE Championship schedule on hold and made it less likely the atomweight Grand Prix will be completed by then.

But Iniong is determined to return and says that becoming a parent has only made her more motivated to continue with what has been a successful MMA career.

“Having my baby definitely makes me more motivated to fight again. I’ve always had that drive and fire to fight, and for sure, that drive and fire just got stronger with my daughter around. As a parent, all I want is for my child to see my hands raised at the end of my match.”

Top competition

Iniong holds a record of 9-4 and has won five out of her seven ONE Championship fights. Of the four fighters to beat her three would go on to sign with the UFC while two have faced Lee in atomweight title matches.

She is clearly one of the top atomweights in the region. But Iniong doesn’t sound in a rush to return, right now she has more important things to worry about,

“It’s an amazing feeling to be a mom and it changed my view about life. It changed me a lot especially now that I’m looking after a fragile human being that is solely dependent on me.”