Tiffany Teo, the Brunei-born MMA fighter we reported about back in October, is closing in on a life-altering moment.
If the 28-year-old wins her fight against India’s Pooja Tomar this Friday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, her target of becoming a world champion at ONE Championship will almost be a reality.
Tiffany will get a shot at the vacant women’s strawweight title. But only if the referee raises her arm after the final bell of her bout during Friday’s ONE: Immortal Pursuit event.
“I think Tiffany Teo is a world class athlete,” ONE chief executive office, Chatri Sityodtong told The Scoop during a press event on Wednesday.
“She’s a very well-rounded mixed martial artist. If she wins this fight, she will get an automatic title shot for the strawweight title.”
Not so much a fork in the road but more like a Jason Momoa-sized trident piercing the sea bed. However, unlike the huge flop that was the Justice League, ONE Championship are The Avengers of the Asian MMA scene — top dogs in their category.
Tiffany’s life will change but her mentality has not.
“I don’t find it hard to stay focused,” she says. “I’ve had my eyes on the title since Day 1. Nothing has changed. The title is my end goal.”
Although another ONE champion, the Canadian Angela Lee, competes under the Singapore flag because her father was born there, Tiffany could be the first fighter from the island-state to earn a title bout at ONE — a huge source of pride for the Singapore-headquartered MMA promotion who have placed a huge emphasis on the positive influences of their super-athletes.
She’ll not only be positioned as a role model for women but for Singaporean male fighters as well.
“Yes, [I know about her]. I’ve talked to her a couple of times. She’s a good fighter,” says Singapore MMA star Amir Khan.
Khan is trying to forge his own legend at ONE and is, according to CEO Chatri, “two or three fights away” from his own title shot. His highly-anticipated clash with Australian Adrian Pang is the co-headlining event on Friday.
“I feel proud for [Tiffany] her,” Khan says. “I mean she’s a Singaporean. And I always want another Singaporean to succeed. If she can make her dream come true — I would love to see that.”
When we spoke to Tiffany a few months ago, she said she was ready to fight for a championship belt.
If it happens, you won’t have to listen too hard to hear cheers of support from neighbouring Brunei.
You might even see a few firm fist bumps of approval from her friends at Busiido Martial Arts Academy in Kiarong.
“It is heartwarming to have fans [from Singapore and Brunei] supporting and rooting for me,” Tiffany says.
“It doesn’t make me nervous. I did everything within my means to prepare for the fight. All the hard work is done during the camp.
“And now it is time for the easy work.”
UPDATE: Tiffany Teo beat Pooja Tomar in a first round submission on Friday night to get a shot at the ONE Championship strawweight title.