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Aarti Khatri talks about her journey as a fighter, future goals and much more

Renjith Ravindran
30 August 2020

Aarti Khatri has been a notable name in the Indian MMA scene for quite some time now. After her entry into the MMA world in 2018, Aarti has been a force to reckon with, and here is her story.

Starting with Taekwondo for Self Defence

Though the roots of her family-run back to Haryana, Aarti Khatri was brought up in a middle-class family in Delhi. It was in 2013 that she stepped into the world of combat sports when she started training in Taekwondo.

The motive for taking the leap was self-defense only but soon, it turned out to be something that she loved doing and within no time, she was a national gold medallist in the sport.

The first-fight of her career also came in Taekwondo in 2016. The fight happened in the state championship where she ended up winning the silver medal which then paved her way to the Nationals.

Despite her success story in the sport, there were some problems that she faced while training.

Aarti Khatri: First martial arts I learned was Taekwondo. I used to live in my village when I started going to training. Even nowadays villages in India do not have facilities for sports and sports aspirants in villages have to travel to nearby cities for training.

The Transition to MMA

Two years after her debut in Taekwondo, in 2018, Aarti started exploring the world of Mixed Martial Arts. Her MMA debut came at the Bodypower Open and the tournament also played host to her most memorable moment as she scored the fastest stoppage. 

Out of the 14 amateur fights that she had during her combat sports journey, Aarti managed to win 13 of them with only one loss in her resume. The most notable run in the amateur run of Aarti perhaps came at the first-ever Women’s Fight Night in India which was organized by X1 International.

Aarti won the four-woman tournament in the fight night and clearly recalls the experience.

Aarti Khatri: X1 international First women's fight night was a wonderful event. I won my first fight by fastest knockout in 36 seconds against Pallavi Parmar and MMA India show wrote an article about me and my fastest knockout. My other fight was against Ishika Thite. Everyone told me that she is a good fighter and ONE championship fighters Puja Tomar and Himanshu Kaushik were on her corner, still I won the fight by unanimous decision.

Fighting at Matrix Fight Night

Her impressive run in the amateur scene soon landed her a fight in Matrix Fight Night as well.

Aarti Khatri: Gurukaran sir [Indian Top Team Head coach] approached me and asked me if I wanted to fight in MFN with Ishika Thite and I replied in positive. I was extremely happy and fascinated by the fact that I was going to turn into a professional Mixed Martial Artist. I felt lucky.

The first fight in Matrix Fight Night for Aarti came against Ishika Thite at Matrix Fight Night 2. After three hard-fought rounds, Aarti secured a split decision win which in turn, made her the first female fighter to pick-up a win in the promotion. She is thankful for Matrix Fight Night for providing her the opportunity and now has her eyes set on becoming the best fighter in her weight category.

Aarti Khatri: I would like to thank MFN for providing me the golden opportunity to prove myself in the cage. My future plan is to secure my career and become the best fighter in my weight category.

Women in MMA and Support from her Family

Along with having her eyes set on being the best in her division, Aarti feels that there is a lot of potential in the women in India when it comes to combat sports.

Aarti Khatri: There is a lot of potential in women in India and they can prove themselves too. I myself know a handful of good women fighters in India who are no less than foreign fighters but they don't get a good opportunity to prove themselves and I would request you to provide them an opportunity as they can earn a good name in this field.

Currently signed with MTK Global MMA, Aarti sees her family as her biggest support and believes that she has to win no matter what the circumstances are.

Aarti Khatri: My family is my motivation and I have to win whatever the circumstances are. I have to fight to win.

Image courtesy: Facebook/Aarti Khatri

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