When a fighter is fully focused on a forthcoming fight and has been training intensively for months, the last thing they want to do is consider the possibility that the hours of painstaking preparation could go to waste and the match up might not happen.
That's the situation which Eddie Ng found himself in ahead of his ONE: "Honor & Glory" fight with Vincent Latoel and the 29-year-old simply put the problem he had developed to the back of his mind.
"I injured my wrist about two weeks out from the fight and I was unable to strike with any power, lock my hands together, post on the ground to stand up, or even twist a door knob without huge discomfort and pain. I knew that my injury was severe, but my mind was set on fighting."
Ng put in the least impressive performance of his ONE Championship career and saw a five-fight winning streak snapped by Latoel. But in the aftermath of that May match up, the full extent of his injury would finally be revealed.
"It wasn't until after the fight with an MRI scan that I realized the true severity of the damage. I broke a bone and tore ligaments and cartilage."
Ng is set to make his comeback at the same venue when he faces Rafael Nunes at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on May 22nd on the stacked ONE: "Warrior's Quest" card and it has been a long road to recovery for the 29-year-old Evolve MMA standout.
"The road back to full training; i.e. striking, wrestling, grappling and conditioning was much longer than I had expected. It wasn't until January 2015 that I was able to resume full training. But I was doing limited MMA training earlier than that, around August 2014."
Ng's only other defeat came at the hands of experienced Swedish fighter Joakim Engberg back in 2009 and his career record currently stands at 7-2. He has four wins inside the ONE Championship cage which makes him one of the most successful fighters in the division. But after such an extended spell on the sidelines, it was something of a surprise when the Hong Konger was handed such a high-caliber opponent in his comeback fight.
Nunes boasts a 10-1 overall record with his only ever defeat coming at the hands of ONE Championship title challenger Koji Ando. If Ng shows any signs of ring rust the Brazilian is capable of capitalizing ruthlessly, but at this stage of his career, "The Magician" is not in the market for easy fights,
"You can't accumulate such an impressive resume without being able to strike, wrestle, and grapple and I am not underestimating Nunes because I know that he is an extremely tough opponent. But if you take a quick look at the lightweight division of ONE FC and you can see that it is completely stacked, every opponent is a tough fight."
Nunes has five submission wins and holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) but Ng believes the training sessions at Evolve MMA will stand him in good stead against an opponent who, on paper at least, will be the best grappler he has ever faced.
"I train daily with BJJ World Champions like Leandro Issa (UFC fighter), Zorobabel Moreira (ONE fighter) and Herbert Burns (ONE fighter). This is a new challenge for me because I have never fought anyone with such a strong BJJ pedigree in MMA, but I am excited to take up a new and tough challenge."
Training alongside Ng at Evolve MMA will be Ben Askren, who is set to defend his title in Manila later this month and Shinya Aoki, who will be headlining the event in Singapore. Recently crowned UFC champion Rafael dos Anjos is also in Singapore and the Hong Konger says it is a privilege to be working with some of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.
"Not only do I train with ONE FC World Champions Shinya Aoki and Ben Askren and UFC World Champion Rafael dos Anjos, but I also train with Muay Thai World Champions like Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn, BJJ World Champions like Leandro Issa (UFC Fighter), and former US Wrestling Olympian Heath Sims. Anything can happen in a fight and your team doesn't fight for you, but I know that I have done absolutely everything that I can with the best team in the world in preparation for the fight."
It will be Ng's sixth time fighting in the Singapore Indoor Stadium and while he might not be a native of the country, he certainly has a significant fan base there and says the support he consistently receives in his adopted home means a lot.
"The fans at Singapore Indoor Stadium totally spoil me. When my career is over, I will forever cherish the times that I fought in front of some of the greatest fans in the world. If you only knew how much it means to me to have so much support in Singapore."
The ONE Championship lightweight title is currently held by Ng's team mate Shinya Aoki, so any title ambitions are on hold for the time being, but there is still one dream which he hopes to realize in the not-too-distant future,
"If ONE FC put on an event in Hong Kong this year, for sure I would like to fight on it. It would be a huge honor to fight on the first ever ONE FC event in Hong Kong."
Given Ng's age and experience, the time has surely come for him to start testing himself against the division's elite and Nunes looks set to provide him with his stiffest test yet. The 29-year-old remains one of the most popular and successful fighters on the ONE Championship roster and will be looking to string together another series of wins starting in Singapore on May 22nd.