Pro-MMA fighter Puja Tomar will become the first Indian woman to land a contract with the UFC, the biggest Mixed Martial Arts promotion in the world, the 28-year-old confirmed on Tuesday.
The reigning Matrix Fight Night (MFN) strawweight champion took to Instagram to announce the landmark feat and said that the UFC contract was facilitated by the backing of MFN and its president, Ayesha Shroff.
“Yesterday, with the blessings of @ayeshashroff and @mfn_mma , I signed my UFC contract and became the first Indian female fighter to enter the UFC. Today marks a moment in history where a young girl from UP Budhana-Bijrol can turn her dream into reality. As an MFN strawweight champ, I want to thank Ayesha (Shroff), Krishna (Shroff), and the whole MFN team for helping me achieve this dream,” Puja wrote in her post.
The 28-year-old from Uttar Pradesh is a five-time national wushu champion and began her MMA career with the now-defunct Super Fight League in 2012. She built a 3-1 record before moving to the ONE Championship, South Asia’s leading MMA promotion, in 2017. Puja, however, endured a torrid run at ONE, losing four of her five bouts. She joined the MFN in 2021 and notched up four consecutive wins.
Puja won the MFN strawweight title in November 2022, beating her former ONE opponent Bi Nguyen at MFN 10. In her previous fight in early July, Puja defended her title against Russia’s Anastasia Feofanova.
Puja will join India’s lightweight star Anshul Jubli in leading the country’s charge to the Octagon. Anshul, who bagged a historic UFC contract in February 2023, will make his promotion debut at UFC 294 on Saturday. Anshul (7-0-0) will face USA’s Mike Breeden (10-6-0) in the undercard at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
Holding an overall 8-4 pro-MMA record, Puja currently trains with the SOMA Fight Club in Bali, Indonesia, a facility also shared by Anshul in preparations for his UFC fights.
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