Singapore, Nov 27 (IANS): Following her incredible victory over the Philippines' Jenelyn Olsim in the ONE Women's Atomweight World Grand Prix semi-final, 27-year-old Ritu Phogat is now ready to face her ultimate challenge in this prestigious tournament on December 3.
The No. 4-ranked atomweight Ritu Phogat is scheduled to face former ONE Atomweight Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Champion Stamp Fairtex of Thailand in the ONE Women's Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship final on Friday.
Ritu plans to leave no stone unturned in preparing for this matchup.
"I've been focused on the finals for a very long time and I've trained for countless hours for the past two years. Victory is closer than I can imagine and I plan to grab it with both hands. This match is crucial for my career and India's reputation. India has never had a female MMA champion in the past and now I have the power to change the narrative and place an Indian woman on the global MMA stage. I will try my best to make India proud," said Ritu.
Her opponent, Stamp Fairtex, is widely regarded as the most dangerous striker in the ONE Championship atomweight division. Sharing her thoughts on how to deal with such an opponent, Ritu said: "Stamp is definitely a formidable opponent but she doesn't have the kind of wrestling experience and background that I have built over the last seven years. I am certain that my superior wrestling background will give me an edge. Also, I've been training extensively and pushing through my wins and my losses, and I plan to make 3rd December an extraordinary match in MMA history.
"My improved striking capability and game plan will be on display for everyone to see inside the circle. I assure you that this match will be the watcher's delight and a dreamer's archetype. Hopefully, I will be spoken about as the first Indian woman to breakthrough on the global MMA stage."
The importance of the matchup cannot be overstated, which is why Ritu is pushing herself to the limit in her training camp.
"It is always effort over excuses for me. Every match and every opponent comes with a different set of challenges, for which I train hard. When I am at the gym training for 5 or 6 hours, all I am thinking of is sharpening my skills so that I can beat my opponents, no amount of sweat or fatigue can interfere or deter me. I can't sit until I sweat, for me the grind leads to growth. The harder I train, the more fuelled up I am! I feel restless if I haven't trained enough."
On her response to praise coming from MMA superstar Conor McGregor, who praised Ritu on social media,'The Indian Tigress' said: "I was thrilled and extremely elated to be praised by him. It gave me more confidence to show what I am capable of, in the circle. When Conor McGregor gets back after his recovery, he will still be a champion as he has always been and will be!"