From Uttar Pradesh to UFC glory: Puja Tomar’s inspiring journey

| Updated: 12 June, 2024 1:06 pm IST

NEW DELHI: In a groundbreaking moment for Indian Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Puja Tomar has etched her name in history as the first Indian fighter to clinch victory in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Tomar’s debut UFC match took place in Louisville, USA, where she faced off against Brazilian contender Rayanne dos Santos in a 52 kg bout. Demonstrating sheer determination and skill, Tomar emerged triumphant with a split decision victory, as the judges scored it 30-27, 27-30, 29-28 in her favor.

This historic win not only highlights Tomar’s personal achievements but also signifies a significant milestone for Indian MMA on the global stage. Hailing from Budhana village in Uttar Pradesh, Tomar’s journey to UFC success was paved with dedication and perseverance. Before her UFC debut, she had already made waves in the martial arts world, establishing herself as a formidable Wushu champion and competing in the prestigious ONE Championship. Her crowning moment came in 2022 when she captured the Matrix Fight Night strawweight title, marking her first international victory.

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Tomar’s remarkable journey serves as an inspiration for aspiring fighters not only in India but across the globe. Her success underscores the growing prominence of Indian athletes in the fiercely competitive world of MMA and signifies a bright future for the sport in the country. As Puja Tomar continues to pave the way for Indian fighters, her groundbreaking win stands as a proud moment for Indian MMA enthusiasts and a testament to the power of perseverance and skill in achieving one’s dreams.

“I want to show the world that Indian fighters are not losers. We are going all the way up! We are not going to stop! We’ll become a UFC champion soon! This win is not my win, it’s for all Indian fans and all Indian fighters,” Tomar exclaimed after her victory.

Reflecting on her emotional entrance, she added, “I walked out to my Indian song with the Indian flag, and I felt so proud. I had goosebumps.” Despite the intense environment, Tomar remained focused and composed. “Inside the Octagon, there was no pressure, I just thought, ‘I have to win.’ I took two or three punches, but I’m OK.”

Looking ahead, Tomar is determined to continue her ascent in the UFC. “I’m going to improve myself and I’m going all the way up,” she affirmed, signaling her relentless pursuit of excellence and her aspiration to become a UFC champion.

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