Evolve MMA standout “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan will defend her ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title against a menacing ground specialist in the main event of ONE: EMPOWER – ONE Championship’s first all-female martial arts card.
The vaunted knockout artist will face Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Hall of Famer Michelle Nicolini in that headline affair on Friday, 28 May, which means she’ll need to be prepared for a difficult all-around battle.
“[When you get matched up against a tough opponent], everyone will have the first reaction of fear in their body, but I think it’s better to turn this fear into motivation,” Xiong said.
“When I got the news that Michelle and I were going to fight each other, I thought that it would be more of a chance for me to improve. It’s a very good matchup.
“I like to fight with opponents at a higher level because, in the course of the fight, you can see something good and bad about yourself.”
Xiong is well aware of her opponent’s strong points, especially since Nicolini is an eight-time BJJ World Champion.
With that in mind, Xiong and her team are putting together a specific strategy for this battle.
“Of course, her ground technique is her advantage because it’s one weak point on me, relatively and technically speaking,” the Chinese star said.
“But of course, we have a plan, with training from my coach and some tips from people around me. Then we all have to work hard and positively to prepare for the fight, to learn more, and to try different training techniques.”
As for the defending titleholder, she feels confident that she can adapt against any type of opponent. That is, after all, the only way to handle the unexpectedness of a mixed martial arts bout of this magnitude.
“For me, preparation for each fight, whether it’s on the ground or standing, I’ll put 100 percent effort into it,” Xiong said.
“I won’t prepare by reading her strength and putting all my energy into defending it. I’m an athlete who’s going to prepare in an all-around way. What will happen in the match is unknown to us all, but what I know is I have to do my best in all of my preparation.
“No one knows what the result will be, but I’ll try my best and try to finish with my favorite KO as soon as possible.”
When all is said and done, Xiong wants to earn the victory to show her supporters that they, too, can achieve greatness – and she’s willing to put more than her record on the line.
“I’m not interested in confidence in my own techniques, but I have great confidence in Xiong Jing Nan, personally,” the strawweight queen said.
“For me, having the World Championship belt in mixed martial arts is more important than my life, and I’ll take care of it with my life because other people can watch me in my fights.
“They can watch me when I encounter difficulty, see how I survive by perseverance, and go on to finish the fight. This can give them encouragement and help when they’re in trouble and when they walk through difficulties in their lives.”
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