When you think of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), the first few images that enter your mind are brutal strikes and suffocating grapples. This unarmed form of combat is mainly thought to be practiced by burly guys, but the reality is that women also make a living inside the cage. Case in point, the absolutely adorable Rika Ishige.
Rika Ishige, also known by her moniker ‘Tiny Doll’, is making everyone swoon with her beauty and brutality. Although she appears petite in stature, this little lady is a beast inside the cage.
The 28-year-old fighter had to overcome a lot of things before she even entered the MMA cage. Before she rose to fame as an MMA fighter, Rika Ishige had to face bullying during her childhood and teenage years. In an interview with ONE Championship, she reflected on her early years and shared:
“I do not remember the first time I got bullied because I used to get bullied since I was young.”
Because she is of Thai and Japanese heritage, her unique features were often the target of bullies.
“When I was a junior in high school, I was bullied by the seniors because I am only half Thai.”
“At first they made fun of me verbally, like calling me terrible names, and after that I was physically bullied. I got pushed from behind and had my hair pulled.”
Rika Ishige suffered a through a nightmarish life as a child. Thus, she sought for a way to cope. From then on, she used her bullies as a driving force to enter the realm of martial arts. And if it someday happens to her again, she is sure she can defend herself from those who would seek to harm her.
“I did not learn martial arts to hurt people, just for self-defense. You should get physical strength by working out or practicing martial arts to protect yourself from physical or sexual bullying. Also, you will build mental strength for dealing with verbal bullying, including cyberbullying.”
She decided to venture into aikido and karate, and it was by practicing these disciplines that her physical prowess improved along with her confidence and ability to control her emotions. She shared:
“I became stronger — not only physically, but mentally. I felt calmer and better at controlling my emotions.”
Despite the criticisms she faced along her MMA journey, she now stands as one of the best female atomweight fighters, ranking 43rd in the world according to tapology, and is undeniably one of the most stunning fighters you will see inside the cage.
Debuting only in March of this year, Rika’s pro MMA record of three wins (two by T/KO and one by submission) and only one loss is a testament to her abilities as a mixed martial artist.
Rika Ishige scored points not only inside the cage but has also earned a place in the heart of fellow MMA fighter Shannon ‘OneShin’ Wiratchai. The fighting lovebirds, in fact, competed together at ONE: WARRIOR KINGDOM in Bangkok.
In an interview with ABS-CBN, Shannon shared:
“We actually met five years ago, at an aikido gym Rika had been going to. There was an event at the gym and she was the emcee. When I saw her, she was so beautiful. I knew I had to meet her.”
With an unwavering determination, Rika imparted an important message to everyone:
“I think MMA is proper for everyone, like a child, like a woman, not only for men. I can show the world that a little Thai girl like me can do it.”
For more on Rika Ishige, watch the interview below.
Watch ‘Tiny Doll’ in action inside the One FC cage below.
What are your thoughts on Rika Ishige? Do you support her and watch her fights? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below!