Eddie Ng is potentially one win away from fulfilling a childhood dream of fighting for a title in his ancestral home of Hong Kong. The 27 year old who grew up idolizing Bruce Lee has gone 3-0 for ONE FC and has an opportunity to cement his status as the leading contender in the lightweight division with a win over Peter Davis this month.
The two are going head to head at ONE FC: "Total Domination" and with Ng's Evolve MMA team mate Shinya Aoki making his featherweight debut the same night, the path is now potentially open for him to challenge for the 155-pound belt which the Japanese submission specialist currently owns.
Ng recently returned to Singapore after a media tour in Hong Kong and with ONE FC's first show there likely to take place in 2014, he has his sights set on a title shot in his hometown.
"Getting to fight in front of all my friends and family in Hong Kong would be a dream come true for me and if I could fight for the title it would be amazing but at the moment the belt belongs to my friend and team mate Shinya. If he decides he is not going to fight at lightweight and the opportunity comes for a title shot, I will welcome that with open arms, it would be a huge challenge for myself and my coaches."
Relatively unknown before he signed with ONE FC, Ng has gone on to become one of the most marketable stars on the roster of Asia's biggest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization and has a huge fan following in Singapore. He hasn't lost a fight since 2009 and of the six opponents he has defeated, only Arnaud Lepont made it as far as the second round.
With so much momentum behind him the time appears right for Ng to receive a title shot, but he is happy to bide his time because he believes he has plenty more potential as a mixed martial artist.
"Maybe in terms of physical ability I am approaching my peak but in terms of knowledge, I am definitely not at my peak, nor will I ever be able to reach it! I learn under World Champions in MMA, Muay Thai, Boxing, Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) each and every day at Evolve MMA and I feel that I am improving little-by-little with each training session and my skillset is continuously growing."
The lightweight waters have become increasingly dangerous since Ng burst onto the scene at ONE FC: "Champion vs. Champion" in 2011. Roger Huerta, Kamal Shalorus, Lowen Tynanes, Caros Fodor and Ariel Sexton have all subsequently signed and winning the title will be far from a straightforward process for the Hong Konger.
Davis discovered first hand how rapidly the roster was improving when he was taken down and pounded out by Sexton, a BJJ black belt, in Malaysia earlier this year. That loss snapped the Malaysian model's five-fight winning streak, but Ng says he is not reading too much into it.
"I am not underestimating his ground game based off his fight and think that it is maybe a little unfair to do so because his last opponent, Ariel Sexton, is a Jiu Jitsu black belt under Renzo and Daniel Gracie, those sort of credentials don't come without good reason!"
Ng himself trains alongside an army of BJJ black belts at Evolve MMA including mixed martial artists Zorobabel Moreira, Leandro Issa, Alex Silva and Bruno Pucci. His routine consists of learning from his more experienced team mates as well as teaching students and he derives a great deal of satisfaction from both activities.
"Through my time teaching, I have witnessed so many amazing transformations occur with individuals; shy children opening up socially with other children, young teens with low self esteem for example due to bullying slowly begin to walk with more self confidence and their heads held up high. There are myriads of ways that martial arts can affect individuals lives for the better and for me teaching martial arts is its own reward."
The number of students who turn out to support Ng when he fights in Singapore is testament to the popularity of his classes and he is guaranteed a raucous reception again on October 18. Davis is also a fan favorite in neighboring Malaysia and, despite the involvement of both Bibiano Fernandes and Shinya Aoki, their fight might well be the most anticipated on the entire card, at least from a purely local perspective.
It should make for an intense atmosphere at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and Ng is confident that the fight will more than live up to the hype.
"Peter is very unpredictable and he has proved in the past he has a lot of power as well as submission skills. It's difficult to come up with a gameplan when you are facing a fighter like that. We both like to finish fights and not leave it up to the judges. It will be a war!"