India’s decorated wrestler Ritu Phogat made a giant leap in her wrestling career by deciding to switch sports and enter the world Mixed Martial Arts. The grappler from Haryana has a decorated career in the world of wrestling, winning a silver medal at U-23 World Championships in 2017, a bronze medal at 2017 Asian Championships and winning Indian National Champion on a multiple occasion.
The 24-year-old has signed up with Singapore-based MMA organisation Evolve. Evolve is among the best academies in the world for MMA. The professional Evolve Fight Team includes ONE Championship World Champion Angela Lee, Former UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson, Former UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos, MMA Legend Shinya Aoki and Kickboxing World Champion Giorgio Petrosyan.
Ritu Phogat was the most expensive female wrestler in the 2016 auction of India’s Pro Wrestling League. She is a member of the famous ‘Phogat’ family and is younger to Gita Phogat and Babita Phogat, both of whom are sports icons in India. Her sister Sangeeta Phogat and cousin Vinesh Phogat are also wrestling champions.
“I am excited to have moved to Singapore to begin my new journey in Mixed Martial Arts. My manager Birbal Sports introduced me to Evolve and convinced me that this is the future,” Phogat was quoted as saying in a media release.
“I have a dream of becoming India’s first ever World Champion in Mixed Martial Arts and can’t wait to represent India on the global stage and make my nation proud,” she said.
With this transition, Ritu becomes the first top-level amateur wrestler from India to enter the sport of MMA. Taking such a huge step might also open the door and pave the way for other Indian wrestlers to test the waters in the sport of MMA, and increase the popularity of the sport in the country.