Indian wrestling star Ritu Phogat discusses her MMA ambitions
Ritu Phogat is a Commonwealth Games gold medal winning wrestler and a huge star in India. Dangal, a movie about her and her sisters, is the highest grossing movie of all time in the country and the 25 year old is currently in Singapore preparing for her MMA debut.
Phogat has signed with ONE Championship and is likely to appear on a card this year. In a recent interview she stated that her interest in MMA actually predates the start of her wrestling career,
“I’ve been watching mixed martial arts since the start and I like it. I wanted to do something different but I didn’t know where to find a training centre for MMA in India, that’s why I started wrestling,” she told ONEFC.com.
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Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, 24 May 2019
Phogat is currently training at Evolve MMA and says her father, who was a famous wrestler himself, supported her decision to transition to a new sport,
“When I got the offer to start training in MMA I asked my dad and my sisters about it because I was interested in it and they supported me. Without his support I could not be here.”
Last year Chatri Sityodtong met with the prime minister of India. It seems a matter of when, not if, ONE Championship holds a card there and Phogat thinks the sport will gradually grow in her homeland,
“I don’t think MMA is as popular in India, people think it’s something different (but) very few people understand MMA. As i start competing in this sport people will know more about it, i think people’s understanding of it will change.”
Phogat has yet to compete in MMA. But she is very clear about what her ambitions are,
“I wan to get that belt and make my dad proud.”