Call it the ultimate debut.
On Jan 4, Mr Royston Wee will be the first Singaporean to compete in an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) octagon.
The New Paper on Sunday catches up with the mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter during a training session ahead of his big fight which will be at UFC’s inaugural South-east Asia show at Marina Bay Sands.
The UFC, which is the world’s largest MMA promotion company, hosts most of the top fighters in the sport.
Focus is vital for any fighter and this could be the biggest crowd Mr Wee is fighting in front of.
Asked how he will deal with the roaring crowd, the 27-year-old admits with a grin: “I have ‘tunnel vision’. All I can think about is me, the opponent and the referee.”
Mr Wee used to be an instructor at local gym Impact MMA. He stopped coaching to prepare for his fight. And he has been training hard – he has five coaches guiding him in different skills.
“I train specifically to the opponents’ strengths and weaknesses,” says Mr Wee, who started fighting when he was 21.
Fighting in the bantamweight category, his opponent for the event is Dave “The Scarecrow” Galera from the Philippines.
“I know from watching videos that he’s a good grappler, so I train more in this aspect,” he says.
Even during training, Mr Wee goes all out.
We watch as he delivers a vicious flying kick at a bag his trainer is holding. He says: “I was imagining that the bag was my opponent’s face.”
Here are some of the pictures from his training session.
The article related to these pictures was first published in The New Paper on Sunday on December 1, 2013.