It did not take long for China’s own “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan to reach the top of her division in ONE Championship.
In just her second fight with in the promotion back in January, Xiong captured the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship, dismantling erstwhile-unbeaten Tiffany Teo to become the first Chinese athlete to hold a world championship in mixed martial arts.
At ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON on Saturday, 8 September at the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China, Xiong will be defending her title for the second time against Brazilian newcomer Samara “Marituba” Santos.
A win over Santos will solidify Xiong’s place as one of the best martial artists to come out of China, and it also sets her up for a champion-versus-champion showdown against reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela “Unstoppable” Lee at ONE: HEART OF THE LION on 9 November in Singapore.
Xiong is definitely on the right path for mixed martial arts greatness, and what got her here is a no-quit attitude that she developed during her formative years as a martial artist.
As a youth, Xiong began her martial arts journey through boxing and then became a representative in the 2007 National Women’s Boxing Championship in 2007, where she finished third.
Eventually, Xiong made her way to the Chinese national boxing team.
“I liked boxing,” Xiong shared in an interview with ONE Championship’s official website (ONEFC.com). “My father always watched it when I was young.”
While Xiong did excel in the sport known as “The Sweet Science,” the Shandong, China-native yearned for more and soon stumbled upon mixed martial arts.
Her years of experience as a boxer came in handy as it had given her the necessary toughness needed to pursue mixed martial arts.
“Boxing made me tougher, and I would not quit easily,” she stated.
With boxing already in her arsenal, Xiong proceeded to add more and more tools to become a well-rounded mixed martial artist.
With grappling being one of the most important pillars of the sport, she immersed herself in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which would eventually lead to a China Open BJJ Championship.
In 2014, Xiong made her professional mixed martial arts debut, winning via submission in just under a minute.
“I knew I could do it. I had faith in my heart. I wanted to do something different, and it was more challenging,” she proclaimed. “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 went on to win eight of her next nine fights, eventually catching the attention of ONE Championship, the biggest martial arts promotion in the world.
In late 2017, Xiong made her debut in spectacular fashion, knocking out Team Lakay’s April Osenio in the first round.
The win earned Xiong her aforementioned title opportunity, and the rest, as they say, is history.
This past June, Xiong successfully defended her ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship for the first time against Argentinian Laura Balin, cruising to a unanimous decision win in Macau, China.
On 8 September, Xiong will once again try to keep the gold belt around her waist, which is the same gold-plated belt that serves as a reminder of her drive and determination to keep improving.
“There were some other girls, but they did not make it to the end,” she proudly expressed. “They gave it up. I was not treated differently because I never give up on what I really want.”