Thailand's Rika Ishige the latest to break the 'MMA fighter' stereotype
Santino Honasan on Aug 03, 2017 06:39 PM
"I always say martial art is my passion. When someone loves to do something, they give everything to do it. Martial arts is my passion, I really give it all." - Rika Ishige
If you happened to walk by Rika Ishige without knowing who she is, it's a safe bet that you'd find it hard to believe that she's a professional mixed martial artist.
After all, the charming Thai-Japanese 28-year old doesn't exactly fit the "MMA fighter" stereotype.
What her smiling eyes and charming demeanor won't tell you is that she's 2-0 in her mixed martial arts career, with both wins coming via stoppage. It also won't tell you that she's a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and that she's trained with the likes of Muay Thai legend Buakaw Banchamek.
And that's the beauty of it.
Ishige is just the latest to try and break the stereotype of what a mixed martial artist is, following the footsteps of Asian women's MMA stars such as ONE atomweight world champion Angela Lee and pioneer Ann Osman.
"Yeah, not only me. Angela [Lee] and Ann Osman, she showed the world that girls can’t just do ballet and tennis, we can fight, our abilities are the same as men’s"
While she may not look like a rugged fighter, Ishige is a martial artist by heart and by profession, and when people ask her why she fights, she says that it's passion that drives her.
"I always say martial art is my passion. When someone loves to do something, they give everything to do it. Martial arts is my passion, I really give it all."
Last year, people barely new who Ishige was. Now, with two impressive wins under her belt, she's being touted as the face of women's MMA in Thailand, and with it comes all the media exposure.
"It’s an honor because actually the last year no one knew me, but this year everyone knows me. I want to make Thai women, and not only Thai women, I want to make Thailand proud and I want to inspire everyone."
Ishige takes center cage once again on Saturday, as she takes on Jomary Torres of the Philippines at ONE Championship: Kings and Conquerors at the CotaiArena in Macau.