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The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan will square off with Tiffany “No Chill” Teo in the main event of ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE in Jakarta, Indonesia come 20 January, for the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship.
Considered among the top three female martial arts talents in mainland China, Xiong is already a hot property inside the revered ONE Championship cage.
A former professional boxer, Xiong is known for her aggressive style and powerful hands, but a gold medal at the 2017 China Open BJJ Tournament proves that she is just as capable on the ground.
Xiong sports a near-flawless record at 13-1, and just one more win will clinch her the inaugural belt and a place in history as China’s first-ever world champion in the cage.
Becoming champion is a dream that Xiong has had since she first discovered martial arts, and now she has the chance to realize it.
“The biggest goal in my life is to win the big one and become the best strawweight in the world. I've already become the top Chinese athlete. Right now, I'm aiming to be at the top of the world in this sport,” she said.
Xiong has the opportunity to not only become the first-ever ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion, but also the first China-born world champion inside the cage.
The 30-year-old Beijing, China native has the chance to make history and also bring honour to both her family and nation.
“I want to make my parents proud of me, because every time my parents see me winning a competition, they are really happy,” Xiong stated.
“The second thing is that I want more people to know about China, and let more people know that Chinese people also have the ability to stand on the highest podium for everything,” she added.
Not very long ago, if someone mentioned mixed martial arts in China, it would have been received with an eerie silence as most were clueless to the sport even if the country was recognized as the spiritual birthplace of martial arts.
A few years since, the sport is growing at a considerable rate in China, with multiple promotions hosting events in the nation.
Meanwhile, several others are trying to break into the market to tap the Chinese market’s estimated potential earnings of up to US$724 billion by 2025.
With China paying attention to the sport more so now than ever before, Chinese competitors are in high demand with major organizations across the globe.
In the western hemisphere, household names Li Jingliang and Ning Guangyou are starting to carve their own niches.
On the other hand, China battles with the products of neighbouring countries in the east like the Philippines, Japan and South Korea by having top-notch prospects like Li Kai Wen, Ma Jia Wen and Ma Hao Bin in its frontline.
Due to the vast opportunities that fall into the laps of Chinese combatants, the list of homegrown talents is getting longer.
Amidst the continuous rise of the Chinese martial arts scene, many are given the break to compete on an international stage like ONE Championship.
ONE Championship, which is widely considered as the premier martial arts organization in the Asian region, made its maiden foray to China in 2014.
Ever since its first venture into the country known as “The Red Dragon,” it has held eight blockbuster events in total with six taking place on the mainland.
In one of its trip to China, ONE Championship opened its doors to a martial arts standouts like Xiong, who has been making her country immensely proud.
Xiong originally embarked on her athletic career with weightlifting as a young child in China’s Shandong province, but she changed course when she fell in love with boxing.
After her success in the sport branded as “sweet science,” Xiong later relocated to Beijing by herself to take on the greatest test of a martial artist – a career in the cage.
“Martial arts is a challenging, extreme sport without limits,” she asserted. “It could also be said to be one of the most versatile sports. It includes punches, kicks, knees, elbows, throws, and so on.”
“I am a person who likes to challenge myself, who wants to soar higher and further. So I challenge myself to make what is impossible possible. Even if there is no hope for success, I try my best to create that hope,” Xiong further explained.
Xiong has certainly come a long way in a short amount of time as she quickly added a sensational ground element to her striking base, taking up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and even becoming a China Open BJJ Champion.
Furthermore, her results in the cage speak for itself as she has compiled a marvellous record of 13-1 with more than half of her wins coming via knockout.
Most recently, Xiong made a jubilant promotional debut at ONE: WARRIORS OF THE WORLD in Bangkok, Thailand in December 2017, defeating Team Lakay’s April Osenio.
Xiong proved to be too much for the Filipina as she tripped her to the ground, sunk in a tight guillotine choke, and then finally stood up to finish Osenio on the feet with explosive punches inside the first round.
Her remarkable conquest of Osenio earned her a shot at the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship, which she will vie for against Teo, a decorated Singapore national champion and well-rounded martial artist who has stopped five of her seven opponents.
In preparation for the world title bout, Xiong returned to Thailand to train with Phuket Top Team, in an effort to prepare a strategy and round out the rest of her game.
Although she cannot necessarily predict the outcome, Xiong is looking forward to capturing the belt and make a statement for China’s booming martial arts industry.
“I am proud. But my pride is without exaggeration. My pride cannot be moved. It only grows. I want more people to see Chinese athletes at the highest stage. I am looking forward to the match. I do not know what is going to happen, or how the match is going to end, but it is going to be exciting,” she shared.