Ritu Phogat Loves the Idea of UFC vs. ONE Event, Wants Zhang Weili and Rose Namajunas

Published 08/11/2021, 2:01 AM EDT


ONE Championship female atomweight contender Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat is one of the fastest rising stars in mixed martial arts today. 

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As she continues to hone her skills with the world champion martial artists at Evolve MMA in Singapore, the Indian wrestling icon is growing more confident by the day — confident enough to favor herself in tough matchups against some of the industry’s biggest names.

Recently, fans have been buzzing online about a hypothetical UFC vs. ONE Championship mega event, after the Asian organization’s founder and CEO, Chatri Sityodtong, posted via the promotion’s official social channels that he welcomed the idea of co-promoting a show with the UFC.

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UFC President Dana White has repeatedly shot down the idea of a co-promoted event with any of the other MMA organizations, which makes an event of this nature highly unlikely. If it ever does happen, however, Phogat wants in.

“Although there is no atomweight division in the UFC, I would love to fight against Zhang Weili and Rose Namajunas. I want to compete against them because they are the top fighters in their weight category, and I want to compete against the best,” Phogat told ONE Championship in a recent interview.

“I know my game and completely trust my skills. I am improving my striking and kickboxing as well. [If] these matches happen, I will utilize [my] skills to the full extent.”

Phogat not only believes that she would be able to dominate against anyone in front of her, but she also believes that ONE Championship talent could definitely compete right up there with the best the UFC has to offer.

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In fact, Phogat already has a few matchups in mind that she’s excited about.

“There are so many UFC vs. ONE [Championship] matches that I would love to watch. The weight categories in both promotions are different. My dream match would be Shinya Aoki versus Israel Adesanya, Xiong Jing Nan versus Valentina Shevchenko, and Christian Lee versus Kamaru Usman,” Phogat said.

“They all are the best fighters. I would love to see who will dominate.”

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Fresh off an impressive unanimous decision victory over dangerous Chinese fighter Lin Heqin last 30 July at ONE: BATTLEGROUND, Phogat is lobbying to reclaim her spot in the upcoming ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix.

Phogat lost her spot in the brackets after her defeat to Bi Nguyen earlier this year. With her latest victory, she has asked ONE to put her back into the tournament and is awaiting the promotion’s response.

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Varun Khanna

1334 articles

Starting off as a tennis author in 2018, Varun Khanna has gone on to contribute to EssentiallySports in various capacities. After setting up interviews with the likes of Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou, Alizé Cornet, and Noah Rubin, Varun is now part of all major ATP and WTA press conferences and has gone on to pen more than 1300 articles for EssentiallySports. He now heads the tennis and NBA division of the organization.

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