ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion Xiong Jing Nan wants to be a trailblazer for martial arts in her homeland.
Xiong made history by capturing the belt when she defeated Singapore’s Tiffany Teo at ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE. 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 Saturday, 23 June in Macau.
“This will be my first title defence, and it means the world to me,” she explains.
“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 so far. She defeated Filipina April Osenio with a first-round TKO on her promotional debut, then stopped Teo in the fourth round of their World Title match.
Her victory in the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title bout made history, as Xiong became the first mixed martial arts 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 says.
“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 explains.
“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 already riding high following back-to-back stoppage victories, Xiong heads into the contest on top of her game.
Her first-ever World Title defence brings a certain level of expectation, 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 says.
If things go to plan for Xiong, that motivation will power her to a successful first title defence so she can continue inspiring Chinese martial arts athletes.