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Meet Puja Tomar, MMA Fighter Makes History As First Indian To Win UFC

Pro-MMA fighter Puja Tomar became the first Indian to win the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). She is also India's first female athlete to secure a contract with UFC.

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Uma Bakshi
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credit: puja tomar instagram

Image sourced from Instagram/@tomar_puja, ufcindia

Pro-MMA fighter and strawweight champion Puja Tomar became the first Indian to win the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) on June 8. The 28-year-old sportswoman defeated Brazil's Rayanne dos Santos at UFC Louisville 2024. In October 2023, Tomar made history as the first Indian female fighter to secure a contract with the UFC. In her debut fight in the women's strawweight division, she triumphed by split decision with scores of 30-27, 27-30, and 29-28.

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In the first round, Puja dominated the score, going for clean kicks against her Brazilian opponent. While dos Santos jumped back up in the second round, Puja's decisive push kick knockdown in the third round clinched her victory. In her interview with UFC, Tomar expressed, "I want to show the world that Indian fighters are not losers. We are going to be all the way up, we are not going to stop!"

Who is Puja Tomar?

Hailing from Budhana, Muzzafarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, Puja Tomar first took up martial arts at 12 years old when she lost her father. “I just wanted to protect my family after my father passed away. So I started to learn karate and kickboxing, and after that, I think I can make my career in martial arts," she told UFC. She started professionally fighting in 2013.

Tomar is a national wushu champion who has represented India internationally in the sport on many occasions. She collected 4 consecutive victories during her time at the MFN (Matrix Fight Night), which she joined in 2021. According to Sportstar, she won the "MFN strawweight title in November 2022, beating her former ONE opponent Bi Nguyen at MFN 10." 

As the first Indian woman to sign a contract with the UFC,  Puja joins Anshul Jubli, the first male Indian martial arts athlete as the first of many Indian athletes and martial arts fighters to sign contracts with the UFC. UFC opened the gates fo women fighters in 2013 and Puja Tomar secured her contract over a decade later.

Female UFC fighters Puja Tomar UFC MMA Wushu Athletes
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