Since moving to Singapore it has all happened for Eddie Ng. He has registered two emphatic first round stoppages, made an army of new fans and finished high on a list of the most eligible bachelors in the country.
The word 'superstar' is often bandied about a bit too easily but in Ng's case it is rapidly becoming applicable. He has the looks and his back to back ONE FC wins are testament to the fact that he also has the ability.
At 26 years old time is also very much on his side and he doesn't seem to be in any danger of letting the attention he has received since arriving at Evolve MMA in Singapore less than a year ago go to his head,
"I try to not think or care too much about any attention. What I do think and care about though is making sure that every day I am improving myself as a martial artist and as a person. I have to continuously train and improve my skills in order to continue finding success in competition. Any sort of recognition or attention is just a by product of being successful in competition."
Ng, whose roots are in Hong Kong, has rapidly developed a fan following in Singapore and was also shortlisted as one of the most desirable men in the entire country by girl's magazine Cleo. At ONE FC 'War of the Lions' this support was evident with his fans bringing banners and even painting their faces much to his amazement,
"I find it all very surprising and I really appreciate the support that everyone has shown towards me. Fans send me messages through Facebook and Twitter and I try to reply to them all as much as I can. I consider the fans to be very important, not just those that are a fan of myself but of MMA in general."
After blowing away Malaysian Muay Thai champion Jian Kai Chee to extend his record to 5-1 Ng's most recent assignment was cornering his Evolve MMA team mate Shinya Aoki at Bellator 66. Although that evening did not go entirely according to plan he is relishing the opportunity to train alongside one of the top fighters in the world at his weight,
"Before I met Shinya Aoki I had watched many of his fights and admired his skills but I honestly thought that he was crazy and a bit of a bad boy! This is certainly not the case as Shinya is actually a very quiet and humble individual. We train together very often, he has taught me and really opened my eyes to a lot of MMA specific philosophy. He has really helped me mature in my overall MMA game."
ONE FC War Of The Lions: Eddie Ng vs Jian Kai Chee (via OneFCMMA)
Aoki is only two years his senior but has had 30 more fights. However Ng, who went to school in England and took up martial arts after being bullied due to his Asian appearance, feels that there is no rush because he is in the perfect place to develop as a mixed martial artist,
"All of the striking coaches at Evolve MMA are World Champions in either Muay Thai or Boxing, they work diligently and have invested many hours with myself and the rest of the Evolve Fight Team. It is very rewarding to be able to showcase the teaching from all coaches in my fights and my team mate Zoro Moreira also got to show off his ever improving Muay Thai skills in the main event at One FC recently."
Regarded by many as the most sophisticated MMA academy in the world Evolve MMA has been linked with a host of fighters recently but while owner Chatri Sityodtong is notoriously selective about who he invites onto the fight team the likes of Riki Fukuda, Ben Askren and Rich Franklin are all set to spend time training there this year.
Matt Hume, Greg Jackson and Renzo Gracie have also visited Evolve MMA to either teach or give seminars and Ng feels fortunate to be spending time with such a rich diversity of coaches and training partners,
"I am very lucky and grateful to have the opportunity to work with so many different elite level fighters. Each fighter has their own style and techniques that they like to use, it is very educational for me when working with them to see all the different things that different fighters do and whether I can take those things to implement in my own game."
ONE FC is already by far the biggest promotion in Asia and nowhere has that been more noticeable than in Singapore where 8,000 people packing into a sold out stadium for the most recent show. Ng has seen with his own eyes how rapidly the sport of MMA has developed in the 10 months or so he has spent there,
"Since the second One FC event in Singapore, I have definitely seen a huge increase in interest in MMA. I've especially noticed that there is a lot more female interest now which I believe is a very positive thing."
He is currently competing in the most stacked division which ONE FC has and there is no shortage of potential opponents at 155 lbs. Ng enjoyed Eduard Folayang's fight of the night with Ole Laursen at the last ONE FC show and would relish the opportunity to face either fighter,
"Man that was one hell of a fight! It was action packed from the first sound of the bell until the last! I understand that there has been some controversy surrounding the decision but I would rather just appreciate the fight for how it was than debate who won and why. Stylistically I think a matchup between me and either fighter would make for a very entertaining fight for the fans!"
The ONE FC matchmakers are rumoured to feel that Ng is ready for a step up in opposition after stopping both Yuan Chun Bo and Kai Chee with strikes very early in the first round of his two fights to date. A headlining slot in Hong Kong might also await him when ONE FC put on a show there and he admits it is something which has been discussed,
"Although no date has been set I know that One FC have plans to hold an event there. The prospect of there being a One FC event held there and having an opportunity to compete there excites me very much, to headline an event in Hong Kong would truly be a huge honour for me."
Although he doesn't currently have a fight scheduled Ng is not going to be taking too much time off and has already returned to training at Evolve MMA after last month's victory. He says he would like to compete in MMA 'three or four' times this year but will also be exploring other avenues as he looks to continue to improve as an all round martial artist,
"I fought Muay Thai for the first time last year in Thailand and it was a lot of fun for me and I would like to compete again in the future. Fighting professional Muay Thai is very important for developing confidence in striking situations. One of the biggest factors in becoming a competent striker is the element of timing and fighting Muay Thai really allows me to work on my timing as well as gain some extra ring time which I consider to be very valuable."
Those improvements were there for all to see when Ng, who has a reputation for being more of a grappler, dropped an opponent who had outstanding Muay Thai credentials with a hook in his most recent MMA fight. He has very heavy hands and can do damage with them from absolutely anywhere, winning his first fight for ONE FC with a knock out punch from within his opponent's guard.
Ng's popularity is rising at a rate which no-one could have possibly predicted but there is substance behind the style and he has the skill set to live up to even the loftiest of expectations. His training partners and coaches at Evolve MMA believe that the softly spoken, hard hitting fighter from Hong Kong will be a world beater and with so much talent in ONE FC's lightweight division there will be plenty more opportunity to prove them right.