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Xiong Jing Nan is setting the standard for Chinese martial artists

China’s first martial arts world champion hopes to inspire her compatriots to success

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ONE Strawweight World Champion Xiong Jing Nan wants to be a trailblazer for martial arts in her homeland.

Xiong captured the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title when she defeated Singapore’s Tiffany Teo at ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE.

And now “The Panda” wants to showcase the best of Chinese mixed martial arts when she makes the first defence of her title at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER on 23 June in Macau.

“This will be my first title defence, and it means the world to me, especially since it is in my motherland,” she explained.

“I believe it will bring a lot of attention and more fans [to the sport].”

Xiong’s performances inside the ONE Championship cage have been little short of outstanding. She defeated Filipina April Osenio with a first-round TKO on her promotional debut, then stopped Teo in the fourth round of their title bout to capture the ONE Women’s Strawweight belt.

Her title win made history, as Xiong became the first MMA world champion from China. The feat left her immensely proud, and also inspired her fellow Chinese athletes to success.

“I am really glad I could show the world Chinese martial arts is on a different level now,” she said.

“Also, it is an honour to be representing the power of China.

“I do not think I am qualified to say I am inspiring my nation, but I could use myself to inspire more people in China who have the talent, and interest, in martial arts. I wish the world could see the power of Chinese martial arts through me.”

Xiong will put her newly-won title on the line against experienced Argentinian challenger Laura Balin on 23 June.

“Laura is a very experienced fighter, and she has very complete skills with really good results. This will be a challenge for me,” Xiong explained.

“I do not like to anticipate any result because anything is possible during a fight. All I know is I should be myself and give my best, and that will bring me more confidence.”

With her confidence riding high following back-to-back stoppage victories, Xiong heads into the contest on top of her game.

But the occasion of competing so close to home in her first-ever world title defence brings its pressures, but “The Panda” says she’s ready to handle whatever the occasion throws at her.

“Of course, there will be a lot of pressure, but this is also a motivation for me,” she explained.

And she’ll be hoping that motivation helps power her to a successful first title defence so she can continue inspiring Chinese martial arts athletes as the nation’s first-ever world champion.

Freelance sports writer and MMA reporter with 19 years’ experience in the UK national media. UFC/MMA Reporter: BBC Three. News Editor: ONE Championship.

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