Ritu Phogat says Khabib Nurmagomedov is her idol
She does not believe Stamp Fairtex will be able to cope with her wrestling and pulled out a quote from the undefeated former UFC lightweight champion to explain why,
“As my MMA idol Khabib Nurmagomedov once said, ‘my style is not like anyone else’s. I am not a typical wrestler’. I would offer a similar response in this context, as Stamp Fairtex has never faced an opponent with my wrestling credentials and pedigree.”
She takes inspiration from the many wrestlers, like Nurmagomedov, who have gone on to enjoy success at the top level of MMA,
“If you see the top ten fighters in mixed martial arts, seven of them have a wrestling background,” she said.
Phogat also bristled at accusations that she was one dimensional and suggested that, for the time being at least, it is enough to excel in just on department,
“If I have just one skill, and I am always winning with it, then why would I change that skill? The day I feel that someone can counter my wrestling, I will think about what I can try next,” she said.
Stamp will be hoping that day arrives on Friday when the two face off at ONE: ‘Winter Warriors’. But Phogat says that as well as the ability to take opponents down and keep them down wrestling has given her a winning mindset,
“We were taught from childhood to fight to win, to give 100%. Defeat was never on our mind. It was like we could never lose.”
She has only lost once so far in her MMA career and will be determined to keep it that way when she faces Stamp in the final of the atomweight Grand Prix. With every win the split decision loss to Bi Nguyen starts to feel more like an aberration.
Quite simply Phogat believes that she is the best and it is a point she hopes to prove emphatically on Friday,
“I want to show everyone, through my work, that I am the best. Until now, I have proved that, and I will show it in the final also.”