Jian Kai Chee has been on the mixed martial arts (MMA) scene for a couple of years but is best remembered for dropping Ole Laursen at Martial Combat 12 in a fight where he proved his stand up was at least as good as the K-1 and Muay Thai veteran, before being beaten by ground and pound.
Since then he has embraced the sport of MMA fighting five more times and on March 31, the Malaysian will be taking on Eddie Ng at ONE Fighting Championship 3 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. It is the biggest card in the history of South East Asian MMA and will give Kai a second chance to grab the win which so narrowly eluded him the last time he fought in Singapore.
A couple of Kai's teammates featured at the second ONE FC show and enjoyed mixed success, Raymond Tiew lost due to a knee injury but Pete Davis made up for a lackluster performance by securing a triangle choke late in the last round of his fight.
With the fourth ONE FC event scheduled to take place in Kuala Lumpur Kai will want to leave a lasting impression with the fans in order to show that Malaysian fighters have what it takes to compete with the best mixed martial artists in the region.
Martial Combat 12 Fight 3 Chee Jian Kai Vs Ole "Iron Fist" Baguio Larsen (via ESPNMartialCombat)
After staggering Laursen with a left hook on his MMA debut Kai is convinced he s capable of doing the same thing to Ng, who is regarded as being more of a ground fighter.
"I believe in my stand up skills because I was Malaysian Sanda Champion, and I was also a Malaysian Muay Thai champion. Eddie Ng is one of the best fighters in Asia and if I beat him I will have respect and attention from anyone but that also puts me under a lot of pressure."
He thinks that Ng, a fighter from Hong Kong who lives in Singapore and is part of the Evolve MMA fight team, will want no part of the stand up exchanges and will do everything in his power to take the fight to the floor.
"There is a lot of Muay Thai legends at Evolve MMA and definitely Eddie will have learned a lot of from them but I still believe he will be afraid to stand with me. I keep reading about how the Muay Thai coaches at Evolve MMA are the best in the world and if they are so good they should be able to prepare their fighter to stand and face me, not shoot for a takedown in the first 30 seconds."
This might seem like wishful thinking on Kai's behalf but he has been preparing in Kuala Lumpur with some experienced MMA fighters including Arnaud Lepont who he lost to in a fight for DARE Championship last year.
"Arnaud is a pretty cool and nice guy and after he beat me we both started working for Muayfit together. He has helped me a lot in training, especially boxing with him and training cardio with him. I train with a lot of awesome guys like Mark Striegl, Will Chope, Eric Kelly, Samir Mrabet, Muay Thai Champ Jorm Kitti and three times Jiu Jitsu world champ, Hakim Goram."
Kai will need to be at his best if he is to beat Ng because the 26 year old has a reputation as being one of the brightest talents in Asia. He is an accomplished grappler who has been competing in professional Muay Thai in Thailand in order to improve his standup.
Ng will also have Olympian wrestler Heath Sims in his corner and if the gameplan is to take the fight to the ground he could not be working with a more experienced coach but Kai would love to win because of the boost it would give Malaysian MMA and knows what his keys to victory are.
"If I can keep my distance and stay on my feet it will be my game and I am sure I will win. I have been obsessed with MMA since my fight with Laursen and it is damn cool to see how fast the sport is growing in Malaysia and Muayfit have played a very important role. If I could defeat a famous fighter like Eddie Ng it would be very big for MMA in Malaysia, that is what motivates me for this fight because I am fighting for my country."