Tiffany “No Chill” Teo is focused on making history, as well as making her family, friends and home nation proud.
The undefeated Singaporean, who has won all seven of her professional bouts, will get the biggest opportunity of her young career when she enters the cage on Saturday, 20 January.
She will challenge Chinese martial arts prodigy “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan for the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship at ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE, which emanates live from the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia.
Although Xiong is widely-regarded as one of China’s finest woman warriors, Teo is confident in her ability to win, and she is preparing for all possible scenarios for her first-ever martial arts world title contest.
“I feel a knockout or submission is possible,” the 28-year-old Singaporean begins. “She is pretty wild with her punches so the opening for a knockout is there, and an opening for a takedown is there if she is committing to her punches.
“At the same time, she is tough. She might not get knocked down or knocked out, and she might go the full five rounds, so there are a lot of possibilities and outcomes to this match.”
Ever since making her professional debut in February 2016, Teo has looked phenomenal, and has developed impressive all-round martial arts skills.
On top of her extensive Muay Thai and taekwondo training, Teo is a Singapore national boxing champion who represents the country in the “sweet science,” and has won gold in multiple Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournaments around Asia.
All of these led her to three consecutive first-round stoppage victories, and a place on the ONE Championship roster.
The talented star made her first promotional appearance opposite Egyptian Top Team’s Walaa Abbas at ONE: DEFENDING HONOR later that November, and showed “No Chill” as she relentlessly overwhelmed the Egyptian, and defeated Samir via rear-naked choke in the second round.
Teo followed that up with three more victories, her most recent being an armbar of India’s Puja Tomar at ONE: IMMORTAL PURSUIT from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in November 2017.
In that bout, Teo used her reach to mercilessly punish Tomar, before taking her down and submitting her at 4:07 of the opening stanza. Despite an outstanding and dominant performance, Teo felt like she could have done even better.
“There is always something to improve on, I guess. Especially for the last match. Maybe it is me being a bit of a perfectionist,” she says, explaining that she was more tense and anxious than usual.
“It affected my game plan. I felt like I was not aggressive enough with my strikes. I guess the possibility of getting a shot at the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title added a little bit of stress.”
Now, with the world title in sight that anxiety has disappeared, and the perfectionist is 100 percent focused on becoming the first-ever ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion, and the second ONE World Champion to fly the Singapore flag.
Standing in her way, however, is Xiong, who is considered one of China’s best female martial artists today. The 30-year-old known as “The Panda” is a former professional boxer and China Open BJJ champion.
Armed with that dynamic combination, she has decimated the competition all the way to a stellar professional record of 13-1. That brought Xiong to the global stage this past December, where she debuted against Team Lakay’s April Osenio at ONE: WARRIORS OF THE WORLD.
The Chinese athlete displayed her grappling early, as she nearly finished Osenio with a guillotine choke. When the Filipina escaped, the match returned to the feet, but Xiong proceeded to knock her out at the 3:44 mark of round number one.
Teo paid close attention to that particular match-up, and couldn’t help but admire her future opponent’s showing.
“She was really dominant with her punches,” the Singaporean admits. “She rushed in with wild punches, and was looking for the knockout with every punch she was throwing. It was a very impressive match.”
In spite of that, Teo has taken a deeper look at the footage, and sees a few holes she can exploit during their forthcoming title showdown.
“Most of her wins are in the first round by KO or TKO, so I feel her strongest rounds will be her first two, because I do not think anyone can be that explosive for five rounds,” she explains.
“And most of her matches do not really go to the ground. In her recent one [against Osenio], she did not have good control after she took her down, so I feel I have an advantage on the ground.”
Teo has studied “The Panda” like she is about to take a final exam at her alma mater, the University of Buffalo. But this time, the psychology graduate is taking the ultimate test in martial arts, and if she passes, her degree will come in the form of the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship.
It is an opportunity of a lifetime, and one she does not plan to squander. Not only does Teo have momentum on her side, but she also has the support of her home nation, her many fans all across the globe, and now, the support of her parents.
Ever since she took her first taekwondo class in her late teens, her parents always disapproved. They wanted her to be a regular person working a normal job. But with each and every victory inside the cage, she slowly won her parents over.
Now, Teo’s mom and dad are the biggest fans of their extraordinary daughter.
“My parents are very supportive now,” she says, proudly. “When I first started [competing in martial arts], I told people they were not supportive and wanted me to stop. But now, they are checking on me, my training, my preparations, and are asking about my matches.
They are changing their attitude, and it is really nice having the support of my parents. I am really happy about it.”
Now, all the pieces are in place. All Teo has to do is put them together, and she could emerge on 20 January as the new ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion.