ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion Xiong Jing Nan is not resting on her laurels ahead of ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER.
Despite rising to the top of the world by stopping Singapore’s Tiffany Teo to become China’s first MMA World Champion, “The Panda” has taken a step back to assess her position, and has made changes ahead of her upcoming title defence.
Xiong will take on Argentina’s Laura Balin at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER in Macau on 23 June, and has switched up her training regimen ahead of the contest.
“What I learned from the last fight is I need to be more stable, more focused, tougher, and faster,” she explains.
As a result, she has redoubled her efforts to improve as a mixed martial artist during her training camp at Bali MMA in Indonesia – the gym she relocated to from Thailand’s Phuket Top Team.
For Xiong, the change of scenery is all part of the process.
“There is really no such thing as leaving or staying at a gym,” she explains.
“For me, no matter where I go, the old gym always leaves a mark on me and follows me to the next gym.
“Each gym has its own strengths, and they are all worth visiting for me keep learning, all while keeping the old skills I have learned.
“I have been training at Bali MMA for one year now. They have a very professional team that has helped me improve very quickly. I have learned many skills, and there is a good training system in place there.
“The environment in Bali gives me a new motivation every day. Everyone encourages each other and learns from each other.”
The idyllic location of Bali MMA offers athletes the chance to enjoy beach life when they are not immersed in their training.
Xiong, however, admits she has not had the time to try out the superb surfing conditions on offer near the facility. The Chinese World Champion’s approach has been all-business.
“The reason I came to Bali is not for fun,” she says.
“I am here to improve myself and to train better. I know what my mission is, and I know exactly what I want. I am 100 percent focused on my match.”
That bout, against in-form Argentinian Balin, represents the first test of Xiong’s reign as World Champion.
She is wary of the wealth of skills and experience her opponent brings to the table.
“Laura is a very experienced fighter, and she has complete skills with a really good record,” she explains.
“This will be a challenge for me. I do not like to predict a 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.”
As well as the opponent, the bout will also offer another new challenge for Xiong, as she looks to defend a World Title for the first time in her career.
The bout’s status and Xiong’s role as defending champion bring extra pressure, but Xiong says she’s ready to embrace it all and use it to rise to the occasion.
“Of course, there is a lot of pressure, but this is also a motivation for me,” she says.
“It will definitely provide me with a chance to learn.
“You need to know what you really want, because when there is a problem ahead of you, you need to accept it first. Then you learn how to solve it, and then you can overcome it.
“I like to take notes. When I have problems, I will write down my thoughts. It helps me relieve tension and pressure.
“I like to look back at my path, and see that I have been very clear on what I wanted in the very beginning.”
With a methodical approach to life, and a businesslike approach to her training, Xiong is doing all she can to ensure that her reign as China’s first mixed martial arts World Champion is an extended one.
“I am really glad I could show the world that Chinese martial arts is on a different level now. Also, it is an honour to be representing the power of China,” she says.
“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 – those who have the talent and interest in martial arts.
“I wish the world could see the power of Chinese martial arts through me.”