By: Nick Portella
What’s good fight fans? Today I had the chance to talk with undefeated One Championship fighter Tiffany Teo. Tiffany is 6-0 winning her most recent fight on May 26, 2017, at One Championship: Dynasty of Heroes. Let’s have a seat with Tiffany and talk for a bit.
Nick: What does it mean (for you) to be a fighter?
Tiffany: It means to be mentally and physically tough. Being a fighter means that you need to be ready and willing to hurt someone. You have to get good at hurting your opponent. You’re either going to be the hammer or the anvil, and your attitude will determine which you become. Big heart, motivation, whatever you call it, you need to be the type of person that is comfortable with pain, can withstand physical punishment, and welcomes physical exhaustion, and do it again the next day. You have to do whatever is necessary and sacrifice whatever is needed to be successful. Spending your life in a gym and make no financial gain for the first few years. Putting all of your life’s goals on hold to fully pursue your passion. Anything outside of fighting will put you at a disadvantage with your competition.
Nick: At what age did you begin to train martial arts?
Tiffany: I started doing Tae Kwon Do and Muay Thai when I was 18. Made the transition to boxing when I was 23/24. Started grappling 2.5 years ago.
Nick: What was your amateur record?
Tiffany: I don’t have any amateur MMA fights. I was 5-1-1 for amateur boxing and 1-1 for amateur K1.
Nick: What camp do you train with? How long have you been with them?
Tiffany: I’ve been training with Juggernaut Fight Club since my amateur boxing days. I’ve been training with them for 3-4 years. I left Juggernaut after my last fight and I’m currently in transition.
Nick: I know that you were heavily involved in choir activities for nearly a decade. What made you leave that and pursue a career in mixed martial arts?
Tiffany: No particular reason. When I first started martial arts it was more like a hobby. I never expected myself to become a professional fighter. Back then, fighting was like a bucket list. I just wanted to give it a try. A tick off my bucket list. I had my first K1 amateur fight and lost to a close decision. The loss motivated me to train harder and I was hungry to fight again.
Nick: Your nickname is The Soul Crusher. Who gave it to you and why?
Tiffany: I’m planning to remove the fight name actually. The name was inspired by a fellow teammate. His fight name is Kerala Krusher.
Nick: You have six professional wins coming in every way possible. Do you prefer to keep the fight standing or do you like the ground game more?
Tiffany: I have no preference. I’m comfortable with striking and grappling. I adjust my game plan based on the strengths and weaknesses of my opponent.
Nick: What would you say is your best attribute as a fighter?
Tiffany: I would have to say my mentality. I am obsessed with training and I’m always hungry to improve my skills. I believe that hard work pays off. I’m training all year round; doesn’t matter if I have a fight coming up. I’m always at the gym putting in work. Training is always my priority. When you put in the work every day, that’s when the magic happens.
Nick: You have fought at bantamweight, catchweight, flyweight, and strawweight coming out victorious every time. Which weight do you prefer to fight at?
Tiffany: The weight category for ONE is a little different from UFC. The weight limit for strawweight in ONE is anything between 52ish kg to 56.8 kg. The lowest weight category I’ve made so far is 56.8 kg. I feel strong and fast at 56.8kg. I’d prefer to fight at 56.8 kg.
Nick: With cutting weight and fighter safety always being a priority. What methods of cutting weight do you use? How much weight do you usually have to cut before a fight? Do you feel the weight cut has a major impact on your strength before a fight?
Tiffany: I don’t like cutting too much weight. When I first started amateur boxing, I went through a few brutal weight cuts (8-10 kg). It is very taxing for the body and I don’t recommend cutting too much weight. It drains you physically and mentally.
For my professional MMA fights, I’d usually cut around 3kg. It is an easy cut. Just a little bit of dieting during the last 2-3 weeks of my fight prep and water manipulation few days before weigh in. ONE has a set of policies for their weigh in. Fighters are required to make weight and pass hydration test for two days. You have to pass the hydration test in order to make weight. So let’s say I’m fighting on Friday, I’d have to make weight and pass hydration on Wednesday and Thursday.
Nick: You have fought under Singapore Fighting Championship, Full Metal Dojo, and One Championship so far in your professional career. Are your feet planted with One or is a move to Bellator and UFC a possibility?
Tiffany: As of now, I plan to keep fighting in ONE and get a shot at the vacant strawweight title belt.
Nick: May 26, 2017, you faced a tough opponent in Rebecca Heintzman winning via unanimous decision in a dominant fashion. Rebecca is known to be very comfortable in a grappling match also. Was the plan to stay standing and out strike her?
Tiffany: Yes, the game plan was to stay standing and out strike her. After analyzing her past fights, my team concluded that she tries to bring the fight to the ground and grappling is her strength. The game plan was to put her out of her comfort zone; stay standing and out strike her. Although the game plan was to stay standing,
Nick: When the fight did make its way to the ground how comfortable were you grappling with her?
Tiffany: I was comfortable grappling with her. She took me down and ended up in my closed guard. Managed to trap her in triangle/armbar transition on my back. I’d say I did a good job controlling the fight on the ground.
Nick: What would be one tip you could give young up and coming fighters just getting into the fight game?
Tiffany: Be patient and trust the process.
Nick: Who is your favorite MMA fighter past or present?
Tiffany: I would say Dominick Cruz and Tom DeBlass.
Nick: If you could have one dream fight with anyone who would it be?
Tiffany: As of now, my dream fight would be getting a shot at ONE’s strawweight title. Doesn’t matter who I’m fighting. I’m coming for the title.
Nick: Tiffany have you submitted to the takeover?
Tiffany: This is Tiffany Teo and I have submitted to the takeover.
Tiffany would not be where she is today without the guidance of her coaches. She is also thankful for everyone who coached and guided her since day 1.
It was very cool speaking with Tiffany about her plans and career. I am sure that her fans will be awaiting her return to the cage and the inevitable title shot. Signing off for TheMMATakeOver.com this is Nick Portella. @NickPortellaMMA