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How Xiong Jing Nan overcomes pressure ahead of her fights inside the ONE circle

ONE women's strawweight champ discusses her approach to a stressful life in the fight game.
xiong-jin-nan

Everyone deals with pressure at some point in their lives, including MMA fighters.

There are a couple of ways to overcome this issue, and every athlete has his or her own unique method.

For ONE women's strawweight world champion "The Panda" Xiong Jing Nan, pressure is part of the game. It's something she accepts, but it's also something she tries to sweep to the back of her head during fight night.

"I stress a lot and tend to overthink things. I do not want to disappoint the people who love and support me," the 34-year-old said.

"There is a lot of pressure. The important thing is that I use it as motivation to win."

And one way she tackles the doubts or disbelief is by turning that negative energy into something that could be more fruitful.

"One good habit I have is to transform these thoughts into my driving force," she added.

"I might say something vicious to myself as a twisted version of a pep talk. To give you an example, I could say to myself in the mirror, 'Xiong Jing Nan, can you do it or not? If not, you better be dead.'"

Tough love doesn't work for everyone, but the Chinese star has used this method to conquer her fears as she makes the long walk to the ONE circle.

Of course, being the division's reigning queen adds to the pressure. And at times, it is quite impossible to shut out the air of negativity.

However, Xiong stresses that at breaking point, putting a positive spin on the negativity is an absolute must. Even if it means going beyond the border.

"Sometimes I use abusive words. It's useful when I need a push," she said.

"Like when I'm really tired or feeling lazy, if someone can throw these belittling words to my face, suddenly I'm provoked to continue. But I have to do this myself. I always tell myself what to do."

Xiong has other ways to lessen that stress and anxiety. Sometimes when the pep talk isn't needed, she can kick back, learn something new, or even jot down what's on her mind.

"Reading books can help to relieve the pressure. Also, writing notes – putting any negative thoughts in a notebook to let them go. Listening to some music with good lyrics and picturing something wonderful helps, too," she added.

All of these methods seem to be paying off for "The Panda" and have led to her success.

To date, Xiong owns a 17-2 professional record. That includes eight wins in ONE Championship and six World Title defenses, making her the most dominant female athlete in the promotion's history.

Most recently, at "ONE: Heavy Hitters" this past January, the Chinese star decimated Ayaka "Zombie" Miura to walk away with a unanimous decision victory.

Xiong's reign of dominance has been something to behold. There will be more challenges in the strawweight division and a possible trilogy bout with ONE women's atomweight world champion Angela Lee at some point, but if "The Panda" can maintain her sense of tranquility, she could go even farther in her MMA career.