It was in 2019 when Ritu Phogat decided to make the transition to mixed martial arts from wrestling, everyone underestimated her. However, in the last couple of years, she has grown a lot in terms of skills and confidence. She has gone through a lot in the circuit but now she is the flagbearer of India in mixed martial arts.
Phogat has delivered performances in these two years which has shut her critics time and again. Once again the Indian is gearing up to face her detractors and has already warned them to not underestimate her in any capacity.
“Don’t underestimate me because I have the power, I have the strength to prove you wrong. Watch out, don’t underestimate me at all,” a fired-up Ritu Phogat said in a recent virtual faceoff interview with ONE Championship.
It is her striking ability that is criticised by a lot of people. Phogat comes from a family of wrestlers and has a very unsual way of striking which has been questioned time and again. Her background in wrestling makes her mix nuances from both the sports, making it look rather unorthodox. Phogat is currently working on her striking ability at Evolve MMA in Singapore. He has highlighted that her past in wrestling still helps her get better in MMA and also allows her to ideate ways to pin down her opponents.
She said, “People sort of underestimate my striking because they haven’t seen much of my striking yet. All the while, wrestling has been my strongest weapon and I continue to leverage this to pin down my opponents.”
Ritu Phogat is ready to make a return to the ring and will face Philippines’ Jenelyn Olsim in the semifinal round of the historic ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix. Olsim was not Phogat’s original opponent but she had to step in late. It was mainly because Phogat’s original opponent Japanese judoka Itsuki Hirata was forced to withdraw due to some health complications.
However, the sudden change has not bothered Phogat much as she is aiming to win the match and reach the final round where she can square off with one of third-ranked atom weight Stamp Fairtex or Grand Prix alternate Julie Mezabarba. It will be intriguing to experience how the Indian performs and whether she manages to get to the finals or not.