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ONE Championship: Ritu Phogat stays undeterred after Stamp Fairtex loss - ‘I’ll come back stronger and bring the belt for India’

December 3, 2021 GMT

Indian MMA superstar Ritu Phogat is taking her submission loss to Stamp Fairtex on the chin.

Phogat, 27, met Thailand’s Stamp in Friday’s atomweight grand prix final in the co-main event of the ONE: Winter Warriors card on Friday in Singapore.

The Indian national wrestling champion had her moments in the fight, notably controlling Stamp against the fence for most of the first round.

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Yet her wrestling became her undoing in the second round when, after completing a takedown, she found herself locked up in an arm triangle choke and then an arm bar ” the latter of which proved more than she could endure.

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The tap came at 2:14 of round two.

“I saw all her matches, and she did good on the ground” Phogat (7-2) told the Post after her loss to Stamp. “Today also she did a good job.”

“Today is her day, not my day.”

Phogat didn’t get the outcome she wanted at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, but said there is plenty to be learned from every fight ” particularly the ones that do not go as planned.

“I learn many things,” she said. “Every athlete should learn, win or lose, but if you lose, especially, learn more. I learned more from this fight.”

From here, Phogat said her first priority is a bit of rest. When her bumps and bruises have healed, she will begin training for her next fight.

She expressed some interest in running things back with Vietnamese-American star Bi Nguyen, whom she lost a controversial decision to in May, but emphasised that her main objective is continuing to fight the toughest opposition available.

“I always want to fight with the best,” she said. “Next year I also want to fight the best. If you fight with the best, you learn many things.”

In victory, Stamp (8-1) is expected to challenge champion Angela Lee for the atomweight strap in the new year. Phogat is not sure who will win that fight, but will be watching the action closely, and is hopeful she will be able to fight the winner soon.

“This fight is going to be very interesting,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a very interesting match with both of them.”

“After that, (whomever) is champion, I’ll fight with the champion.”

One way or the other, Phogat is adamant that she is still as motivated as ever to achieve her ultimate goal.

“This is not the end,” she said. “When I came to mixed martial arts, my goal is to be ONE atomweight world champion. My goal is the same. I’ll do hard work for this.”

“Very soon I’ll come back more stronger and become the champ,” she added. “I’ll come back more stronger and bring the belt for India.”

This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia. For more SCMP stories, please download our mobile app, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

Copyright (c) 2021. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.