The explosion of interest in MMA in Singapore has encouraged many fighters to make their professional debuts without having ever previously competed at any level. That’s not a mistake that Benedict Ang was going to make, as he comes into his first fight for ONE Championship with an extensive amateur background.
Ang only recently turned 19, but his career took off after he accepted an offer to join the Evolve MMA fight team. The Singaporean currently has an amateur record of 6-0 having fought on a variety of shows against a wide range of different opponents and is set to make his professional debut at ONE: Warrior’s Quest on May 22.
While nothing Ang has experienced previously can compare to stepping out in front of 10,000 fans at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, he believes that having such a strong amateur background will make the transition to professional competition less traumatic.
“You can’t put a price on experience. It’s something you can get only by doing it, but I have six successful amateur fights and my coaches thought it’s time for me to take a step up in competition. For sure there are nerves, but I will shut out everything and just listen to my head coach Heath Sims and the cornermen.”
Ang has been in the audience for all but one of ONE Championship’s seven events at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and says it still feels surreal to finally be making the transition from fan to fighter.
“It feels crazy, I’ve been dreaming about this day three years ago and it’s finally here. I’ve been training very hard with the world champions here at Evolve MMA and they have pushed me hard during each training session. I can’t wait to see what this journey may bring.”
A promising footballer during his school days, Ang discovered a passion for martial arts and has not looked back. He’s taking on 3-2 Pakistani Waqar Umar on May 22 and says he wants to prove he is a well rounded and versatile fighter.
“I would consider myself a freestyle fighter. I train in every discipline under the legendary Evolve instructor team and I’m working on everything. My goal is to reach perfection.”
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It’s been a busy few months at Evolve MMA with Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke, Shinya Aoki and Ben Askren all preparing for for ONE Championship title fights at the Singapore camp and recently crowned UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos also flying in to do a few days of training.
His career is still in its infancy, but Ang says it is a privilege to be training alongside some of the most experienced and successful fighters in the sport.
“I am extremely blessed. They are all at a level that I would love to be at one day and being able to learn from them and feel how good they actually are in person is an extraordinary blessing. Not everyone can say that they have trained alongside so many world champions, but I get to do it every single day.”
Ang is part of a new generation of fighters who begun training in MMA itself rather than transitioning from one specific discipline. He’s spent several years preparing for his professional debut and will be looking to show that he has the potential to one day reach the pinnacle of the sport with a winning performance at ONE: Warrior’s Quest.
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