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From Budhana Village to UFC: 5 Lessons From Puja Tomar's Journey In her historic UFC debut, Puja won a tough match against Brazilian MMA fighter Rayanne dos Santos

By Entrepreneur Staff

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Puja Tomar via X

Puja Tomar has rewritten the narrative of Indian women in combat sports. Coming from a humble background, Puja's journey to becoming the first Indian woman to secure a UFC contract is an inspiration. From the outset, Puja faced societal and economic hurdles but she was raised as "The Cyclone".

In her historic UFC debut, Puja won a tough match against Brazilian MMA fighter Rayanne dos Santos. "Puja Tomar is a pioneer for women's MMA in India," said Kevin Chang, UFC Senior Vice President and Head of Asia. Her journey from Budhana village to the global stage of UFC is an inspiration, not just for aspiring athletes, but for anyone who is fighting and striving to break free from societal constraints and pursue their dreams.

Here are five lessons we can learn from Puja's Journey:

1. Punching Patriarchy in the Face

Born as the third daughter in her family, society criticized her parents for not having a son. Despite facing gender discrimination, her parents, especially her mother, supported her dreams. And, it fueled her dream of becoming a fighter. It is a motivation for lakhs of women who face the same patriarchal problems still today. "My MMA journey was not easy; this win is for my mother. She has fought with the world for me," Puja shared post-match Her success shows that with support and determination, anyone can overcome societal constraints.

2. Turning Anger into Fighting Spirit

Puja lost her father at the tender age of just 7 years old, which filled her with anger and disappointment with life. However, instead of letting these feelings hold her back, at the age of 12, she used them to fuel her training and took up martial arts. She worked very hard and the rest is history. "I want to show the world that Indian fighters are not losers. We are going all the way up", she shared with Sony Sports Network. Puja's story illustrates how turning life problems into motivation to bring changes can lead to great achievements.

3. The Power of Discipline and Hard Work

Puja is known for her relentless hard work and never-give-up attitude. Even when faced with tough opponents, she keeps pushing forward. "I was confident of winning, I attacked a lot. But I wasn't able to give my 100 per cent. I felt pressured in the second round. I need to improve on a lot of skills like takedowns," she shared earlier. Her dedication shows the importance of understanding mistakes and doing hard work towards them.

4. Winning Attitude

Puja shared her experience during the match, it shows her toughness and preparedness for the match. "I walked out to my Indian song with the Indian flag, and I felt so proud. I had goosebumps. Inside (the Octagon), there was no pressure, I just thought, 'I have to win', she shared. Her story serves as an inspiration to many, illustrating that no obstacle is too great to overcome with the right mindset.

5. Embracing Continuous Learning and Improvement

Even after making her name in history, she emphasized her focus on what she can improve and do great in future matches. "I took two or three punches, but I'm OK. I'm going to improve myself and I'm going all the way up," she shared. Her commitment to learning and getting better highlights the importance of always striving for improvement.

Entrepreneur Staff

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor

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