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Puja Tomar: This Indian Woman is Breaking Barriers as the First Indian Woman in the UFC

Puja Tomar Indian UFC Fighter
Black Belt Plus

Puja Tomar's ascent from the rural landscapes of Muzaffarnagar, India, to the global arena of the UFC has been a story of resilience and breakthrough, marking her debut as the first Indian woman in the UFC where she will face Rayanne dos Santos in Louisville.

Puja Tomar was born and raised in the small town of Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, India where opportunities for women in sports, especially combat sports, were scarce.

The loss of her father at the age of 12 was a turning point. With the family's safety a new concern, Tomar found her calling in martial arts, initially taking up karate and kickboxing as means of self-defense and empowerment.

Her mother, ever supportive yet unfamiliar with martial arts, became Tomar's biggest advocate, encouraging her to push the boundaries of societal expectations and pursue a professional career.

Transitioning to mixed martial arts was not an easy path. Tomar faced numerous challenges, from limited training resources to societal stigma around women participating in such a vigorous sport. However, her tenacity led her to a professional MMA career, amassing an impressive record of 8-4, highlighted by six knockouts and a four-fight winning streak.

Her prowess in Wushu, a form of Chinese martial arts, gave her an edge in striking, making her a formidable opponent in the ring.

Her journey from local competitions to international stages has been both inspiring and arduous. In India, the sport wasn't as recognized, especially for women. There were few facilities, and even fewer opportunities for serious training.

Despite these obstacles, Tomar's commitment never wavered. Her performances in Asian mixed martial arts circuits caught the attention of international scouts, paving Puja Tomar's way to the UFC.

Now, as she prepares for her debut, the significance of her participation extends well beyond personal achievement. Tomar is not just representing herself and her family; she's carrying the hopes of countless Indian women athletes, proving that with perseverance, the global stage is within reach.

Reflecting on her roots and her upcoming fight, Tomar remains grounded yet ambitious, driven by the early lessons in resilience and the simple advice from her mother to fight through life's challenges.

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