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First Indian To Win In UFC, Puja Tomar Shares Glimpse Of Her Gruelling MMA Journey

  • Jun 28, 2024
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Puja Tomar became the first Indian to win a UFC bout, earlier this month.

Earlier this month, mixed martial arts fighter Puja Tomar became the first Indian to win a bout at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The 28-year-old achieved a split-decision victory over Brazilian Rayanne dos Santos in the straw-weight division (52 kg), winning on her UFC debut. Now, Tomar aspires to be a trailblazer for MMA in India, and hopes to see more stars rise in the sport from the country. She also spoke of her intense routine in order to prepare for her UFC bouts.

"I just want to keep fighting and keep winning my fights and grow MMA in India," said Tomar to NDTV.

'I want people to know and follow MMA, whether it's through me or someone else," she said. "It takes something else to hit someone and get hit. It's a different kind of hard work, so I want everyone in India to know about MMA," she added.

Hailing from the small town of Budhana in Uttar Pradesh, the 28-year-old signed her contract with UFC in October 2023.

Tomar goes by the ring name "The Cyclone", and her training routine certainly backs up her name.

"There's a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes," said Tomar. "People only see us in the octagon fighting. We were training for 3-4 months. I was in a very long camp since my flights were cancelled," she continued.

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Tomar stated that her coach Mike Ikelei refuses to go easy on her in her training, preparing her for the toughest situations in the ring.

"There have been times where I'm exhausted and on the ground unable to get out, but he'd call the guys to come and hit me more," said Tomar to NDTV. "I'd cry and he'd tell them to keep going, and that I needed to find my way out," she said.

The UFC is widely-considered to be the highest standard in mixed martial arts, and Tomar's victory sets an example for budding Indian MMA fighters to follow.

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