Unless one of the eight participants pulls out in the next month Ritu Phogat will not be participating in the ONE Championship atomweight Grand Prix. it will go down as a major disappointment for the Indian who was removed from the tournament after losing to Bi Nguyen.

Phogat got back to winning ways with a victory over Lin Heqin at ONE: ‘Battleground’ last night. After the fight she said,

“I deserve to be in the atomweight Grand Prix, I think I am one of the top contenders.”

Ritu Phogat punches Lin Heqin 2

Total annihilation 

While that wish does not look like it will be granted Phogat immediately established herself as one of the top atomweights on the roster by snapping Heqin’s 11 fight winning streak. Last time out she lost by split decision but the Indian had no doubt who the judges would be voting for last night,

“All I was focused on was to completely annihilate my opponent and make sure the decision was clear. It was clear to the judges and the fans that I had won the fight.”

She says she learned some valuable lessons from the loss to Nguyen. It was the first defeat of her career and Phogat thinks the experience made her stronger,

“All that happened during the last fight was a major learning experience and I have tried to develop my skillset to make sure I don’t repeat a couple of mistakes. I have come a long way, I have worked on all my weaknesses.”

Ritu Phogat punches Lin Heqin

Olympic dream

Interestingly Phogat still dreams of representing her country at the Olympic Games. While her focus is firmly on ONE Championship and her MMA career at the moment she could return to wrestling eventually,

“It’s my dream to represent my country at the Olympics. Right now am fully committed to ONE Championship but it’s definitely on my mind.”

Phogat was able to control the fight using takedowns but says she had to make an early adjustment,

“When I started the fight I realized the double leg was turning out to be difficult so I altered my gameplan and used the single leg (instead).”

Ritu Phogat 16

Complete control

Heqin has not fought regularly in recent years but came into this contest on the back of an 11 fight winning streak. But Phogat said she never felt in danger despite her opponent attacking with a couple of submission attempts,

“I was very comfortable. She didn’t do anything unexpected. I was in control.”

Phogat is a extremely popular and has a huge fan following in her native India. While there weren’t any fans in the stadium she could still feel the support coming from the online audience,

“I credit my success to my countrymen. I am nothing without their support and I am going to come back home with the belt. I am going all out to make the country proud.”