After deciding to switch to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) from wrestling, Ritu Phogat has mentioned that she has an aim of winning the World Championship belt for India. The 24-year-old has also added that she will have to go through a transition from a wrestler to an MMA athlete now.
After a promising start to her wrestling career, Ritu has now decided to switch to MMA and she will join Singapore-based Evolve Fight Team soon. Ritu, who is the daughter of popular wrestling coach Mahavir Phogat and is one of the four Phogat sisters, had a dream of taking part in MMA and now aims at winning the World Championship belt for India.
“I will be representing India in MMA. My dream is to win the World Championship Belt for my country someday, Ritu told TOI.
“I have been following MMA for a long time. I was impressed with it. I always thought - 'why doesn't India have a champion in MMA?' It (MMA) is very interesting. I have been involved with wrestling throughout my life and the sport will always be etched in my heart. But I like MMA too.”
Ritu had won the Commonwealth Wrestling Championship gold medal in 2016 and had also clinched a bronze at the Asian Championships in 2017 in Delhi. Meanwhile, she has stated that wrestling will always be her first love and it also plays an important role in MMA.
“Wrestling will always be my first love. But MMA is very interesting and popular. For me, whether you a wrestler or
“My training for MMA is yet to start. I will be going through a transition – wrestler to an MMA athlete. Wrestling plays a big role and is very important in MMA. If you look at the career of some MMA World Champions, they started as freestyle wrestlers. I will be learning the tricks and skills of other forms of MMA. I will hit the ring once I am ready. I will be training at EVOLVE MMS training centre in Singapore. This is the best training centre for MMA. I will be training alongside many World Champions. Wrestling is the foundation of MMA. It helps a lot. Wrestling helps in a smooth transition to MMA. As I said, some freestyle wrestlers are top World Champions in MMA.”
Ritu has made it clear that she took the decision only after her family agreed. She had spoken to Geeta Phogat, Mahavir and her brother Rahul before taking the decision to switch to an MMA athlete from a wrestler.
“My family has always supported me in my career. Whenever I needed them, they were always there for me. I was adamant on pursuing MMA. It took time because it was a big decision and would have a big impact on my career. I spoke to Geeta (Phogat) didi and brother Rahul (Phogat) and then my father. I took this decision only after my family agreed. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my family. I am really thankful to them for supporting me,” Ritu concluded.
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