The making of India’s first MMA superstar, Ritu Phogat
This Guest UG Blog is by our friends at:
Evolve MMA is Asia’s premier championship brand for martial arts. It has the most number of World Champions on the planet. Named as the #1 ranked martial arts organization in Asia by CNN, Yahoo! Sports, FOX Sports, Evolve MMA has the top rated Muay Thai gym in Singapore.
Wrestling Champion Ritu Phogat from the Evolve Fight Team is a martial arts icon in her home country of India. She is also widely considered one of the most influential and most talented wrestlers in the entire world.
Earlier this year, Phogat made headlines when she decided to join the Evolve Fight Team and sign with ONE Championship, the largest martial arts organization in the world, and begin her transition to the sport of mixed martial arts.
Training under multiple World Champions of different combat sports at Evolve MMA, Phogat has honed her skills and is ready to make an impact in the world of mixed martial arts. Here’s why Phogat is primed to be a mixed martial arts superstar.
At 25-years of age, Phogat is already one of the world’s most prolific wrestlers. She comes from a fighting family, all famous for their work in developing Indian wrestling. Being the third daughter of pioneer Mahavir Singh Phogat, Ritu had big shoes to fill, and she definitely rose to the occasion.
“Wrestling is my first love. I grew up watching my sisters sweating it out on the mat and mud with my dad,” said Phogat. “They are the ones who made history by changing the game of female wrestling in India. Like many young female wrestlers, they were my role models too. Growing up, I always wanted to step into my sisters’ footsteps and make my country and family proud.”
Phogat is a Commonwealth Wrestling Championships Gold Medalist, U23 Wrestling World Championships Silver Medalist, Asian Wrestling Championships Bronze Medalist, and 3x Indian National Wrestling Champion.
In 2018, Ritu established herself as one of the best wrestlers in the world, finishing 5th at the World Championships despite only being 24 years old.
Has A Movie Made About Her Family
Wrestling since the age of 8, Phogat has had over 300 wrestling matches and competed in the world’s top wrestling competitions.
She is a member of the famous Phogat family, whose story was immortalized in the blockbuster film Dangal, India’s highest-grossing film of all time. Her sisters Geeta Phogat, Babita Phogat, Sangeeta Phogat, and cousin Vinesh Phogat are also Wrestling Champions.
“Dangal is very close to my heart. The movie made a huge impact in India, it challenged the traditional gender stereotypes and struck the right chord emotionally, especially with Indian parents and daughters,” said Phogat.
“I came to know that Dangal was not only a blockbuster in India but was touching hearts globally. It has been a huge inspiration for me.”
Of course, training under her father, Phogat didn’t just learn the ways of martial arts. She also learned life’s biggest lessons too.
“My dad not only taught me how to wrestle but also taught me how to be respectful, humble, fearless, disciplined, and hard-working. He has kept me grounded despite my success,” said Phogat.
“These values will forever play an important role in my career, as well as my life.”
Joined the World’s Largest Martial Arts Organization
Earlier this year, Phogat made one of the biggest decisions in her life and career when she decided to join ONE Championship and compete in mixed martial arts. It was a decision fully supported by her family.
Becoming a member of the famed Evolve Fight Team, Phogat carries with her a lot of pride and a lot of expectations. She’s more than ready to show the world just how ferocious she can be inside the cage.
“I grew up watching mixed martial arts and find it very interesting,” said Phogat.
“I always used to wonder how and where I could train for such a sport. I wondered why there weren’t many Indian world champions in MMA. So when the opportunity to train at Evolve MMA came along, I decided to check it out and a few months later, here I am, ready to compete in the Home of Martial Arts.”
Joining the ranks of the elite women martial artists in ONE Championship, Phogat assimilates into good company featuring fellow Evolve Fight Team member “Unstoppable” Angela Lee.
Having been training at Evolve for the past year, Phogat is quickly gaining confidence in her abilities in the cage.
“I am very excited, and it feels great. Evolve is a fantastic place to learn professional MMA. I think it is the best training center in the world for MMA with World Champion coaches. After coming to Evolve and speaking to coaches, I was confident about my transition from wrestling to MMA,” said Phogat.
Developing Into A Well-Rounded Fighter
Of course, being a great wrestler isn’t the only ingredient to success in mixed martial arts. Phogat understands that to succeed in this sport, she has to add several elements to her overall fight game, including the all-important striking skills.
At Evolve, Phogat has access to years of knowledge and experience from Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and boxing World Champions.
“My striking skills are developing well, it is a work in progress,” said Phogat.
“Training under Muay Thai world champions, I will only get better. My BJJ training has helped me a lot on my submission skills, and I am getting the best training here at Evolve MMA, so I am starting to gain some confidence after training here with all my coaches.
“My ultimate goal is to become World Champion and make my country proud.”
Phogat is certainly on the right track. When she finally makes her cage debut, a lot of eyes will be on Phogat and how she performs. Even then, she is confident she can make a successful transition and can’t wait to step inside the ONE Championship Circle.