Singapore, Jan 13 (IANS) Wrestler-turned-MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighter Ritu Phogat is still focused on her primary goal despite ending 2021 by bowing out of the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship Final.
She suffered a second-round submission loss at the hands of former two-sport ONE World Champion Stamp Fairtex, but maintains she learned many lessons in defeat.
Phogat said that the setback hasn’t deterred her from continuing to chase her dreams. “I am here with one goal — to be the first ever women’s MMA world champion from India. I will do everything to make that happen,” Phogat said.
“2021 was a rollercoaster of a year, with a lot of excitement, experience, learnings and setbacks. Overall when I look at things, I always look at it in a positive way. World is going through a once in 100 years kind of pandemic, but we have learned so much as humans. 2021 was one of the best years so far for me as a martial artist and that will only help me to grow. The wins and losses all have taught me something.”
Phogat fought a whopping five times in 2021, winning three and losing two. The other defeat was to Vietnamese-American Bi Nguyen in April. After the loss to Nguyen, Phogat went on a tear, winning her next three while showcasing sharp improvement after each fight.
She eventually reached the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship Final opposite Stamp Fairtex, but ultimately fell short of victory.
“I worked very hard to prepare for the finals. But sometimes losses give you a different but positive perspective. I have to work harder to come out victorious. It’s ok to lose. It builds your mentality and makes you more hungry. I have lost before but coming back after a loss is what I need to focus on,” Phogat said.
“I have learned that hard work and consistency is the key but even more than that, a positive mindset and focus should be your crucial drivers. Every athlete works hard and trains to compete but mental toughness and positive attitude makes all the difference in the ring.”
Now that 2022 is upon us, Phogat says she has a renewed motivation to achieve her goals in the new year. She says it doesn’t matter who she faces in the Circle next, her opponent needs to be prepared for what she brings to the table.
Phogat is determined to start the year on a positive note, with a resounding victory.
“You always have to improve and consistently grow. If you think you are the best, sometimes that’s over-confidence. I have to improve everyday not only in wrestling but in Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing. If I want to be one of the best martial artists, I need to improve regularly,” Phogat concluded.
“Next for me is to go back to my winning ways and showcase what I am capable of. I don’t care who my opponent is, I will be well prepared to take on anyone.”