Ritu Phogat won’t hold back when discussing her upcoming match against Stamp Fairtex.
The two are scheduled to square off in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship Final, slated for ONE: Winter Warriors on December 3 in Singapore.
Following their respective victories in the tournament’s semifinal round in October, Ritu Phogat and Stamp Fairtex were given the chance to stand face-to-face and look each other in the eyes for the very first time.
Ritu Phogat later revealed that she sensed a slight tinge of fear in Stamp, the former atomweight Muay Thai and kickboxing world champion. In a recent interview with ONE Championship, Ritu Phogat had this to say:
“It’s true. I did believe that she would be scared of me and when I locked eyes with her during the staredown, my suspicions withered away. I definitely saw fear in her eyes and I don’t blame her for being afraid to face me. If I was in her shoes, I would be [scared] too, since she has witnessed my wrestling proficiency and stand-up improvements from close quarters. But, I would give her credit for trying to put on a brave face for the fans. However, I saw right through the facade.”
That’s certainly a confident statement coming from Ritu Phogat, who sits at No. 4 in the division, a good two spots below Stamp in the pecking order at atomweight.
Ritu Phogat vs. Stamp Fairtex – A classic grappler versus striker matchup
Both Ritu Phogat and Stamp Fairtex joined ONE Championship after transitioning to mixed martial arts from their respective disciplines.
Stamp joined the main ONE Championship roster after seeing immense success in ONE Super Series and having won two world titles in different sports.
Ritu Phogat, meanwhile, transitioned from wrestling to MMA in the same year and has had a similar career trajectory. Both women now find themselves on a collision course, although they took different paths to get here.
Ritu Phogat, however, feels she will be too much for Stamp on the mats when they finally meet in the Circle. The 27-year-old ‘Indian Tigress’ says there’s no amount of training Stamp can go through to prepare for her wrestling.
“Stamp Fairtex has never faced an opponent with my wrestling credentials and pedigree. I have developed my wrestling game by learning the craft over a period that spans over a decade and a half. I do not believe that a single training camp would bring Stamp to my level of expertise as far as wrestling is concerned. She would have to dedicate a considerable chunk of her life to wrestling to match steps with me.”
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Of course, the winner of the historic atomweight tournament will then move on to challenge reigning ONE women’s atomweight world champion Angela Lee sometime in 2022.