Puja Tomar, 28, will become the first Indian woman to sign a deal with the UFC, the world’s largest Mixed Martial Arts promotion, the 28-year-old said on Tuesday.
The reigning Matrix Fight Night (MFN) strawweight champion announced the historic achievement on Instagram, saying that the UFC deal was made possible by MFN and its president, Ayesha Shroff.
Tomar was released by ONE Championship in 2020 after losing three of her four fights for the organisation, with the only win coming via split decision. She would go on to win four consecutive fights and the strawweight belt at Matrix Fight Night 12.
Tomar’s record is at 8-4, and her next bout seems to be inside the octagon.
Tomar explained that she got into MMA due to a sequence of terrible occurrences, rather than because she was interested in it. “The kind of grief I’ve experienced in life has made me tough. How my mother had to stand tall after my father passed away, the situation at home… when I look back at that, the current troubles feel very small. I strengthened myself with those thoughts. ”
The 28-year-old Uttar Pradesh native is a five-time national wushu champion who began her MMA career in 2012 with the now-defunct Super Fight League. She was 3-1 before joining the ONE Championship, South Asia’s top MMA company, in 2017. Puja, on the other hand, had a rough time at ONE, losing four of her five fights. She joined the MFN in 2021 and won four games in a row.
Puja won the MFN strawweight championship in November 2022, defeating Bi Nguyen, a former ONE opponent, at MFN 10. Puja previously defended her title against Anastasia Feofanova of Russia in early July.
Tomar is a five-time national wushu champion, has a background in karate and taekwondo, and has won several medals in both disciplines. She quickly rose to prominence as one of the most recognisable faces in Indian MMA. She currently holds the Matrix Fight Night (MFN) strawweight title.
Tomar started fighting in MMA in 2017 and swiftly progressed through the ranks, winning her first four professional fights. In 2021, she made her MFN debut, defeating Ritu Phogat to become the strawweight champion.
Tomar’s deal with the UFC is a significant step forward for Indian MMA. She is a role model for prospective fighters in India, and her victory will undoubtedly encourage more women to participate in the sport. Tomar will make her UFC debut in early 2024.
Tomar makes it apparent that Matrix Fight Night gave her permission to sign with the UFC, despite her standing as the Indian promotion’s reigning champion, informing her 400,000 Instagram fans that, “Yesterday with the blessings of Ayesha Shroff and Matrix Fight Night I signed my UFC contract.”
She is the first Indian female fighter to sign with the UFC. Anshal Jubli just earned a promotion after winning a competition and will compete in Abu Dhabi this weekend. Jubli, a featherweight fighter, is also a Matrix Fight Night veteran. He will face Mike Breeden at UFC 294 on Saturday at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.