Do you remember what it feels like to be 19 years old? You’re basically at the top of the world — you wake up, you go to school, you hang out with friends and repeat it all over again five days a week. But what if you decided to become a professional MMA fighter?
This Friday, at ONE: Warrior’s Quest, Singapore featherweight champion Benedict Ang makes his professional MMA debut in front of 15,000 screaming fans and 1 billion viewers around the world. A Polytechnic student and an undefeated amateur MMA fighter with a 6-0 record, Ben is facing a reality that is completely foreign to the average 19 year old. It can’t get any more real than bringing honor and glory to your country.
Being a professional MMA fighter did not come naturally to Ben. Prior to learning about ONE Championship from a school friend, Ben had no idea what MMA was. As a secondary school student, Ben was highly involved in his school’s football program, joining the school team and even the Singapore national team.
When he wasn’t playing football, he was busy goofing around with his friends like any normal teenager. And then he started getting into fights. After his mother’s tragic death, Ben found new ways to cope. Unfortunately, they weren’t the healthiest methods. He became known as a bully around school and fighting became a routine for him.
Nothing seemed to be going right for Ben and then he found MMA. After researching more about MMA, Ben prodded his father into allowing him to do a trial class. His father, desperate for a change for his young son, agreed. And the rest is history. Martial arts transformed Ben’s life completely, giving him humility, courage, respect, work ethic, mental strength, focus, and so much more. Above all, martial arts turned Ben into a gentleman inside and outside of the cage. He now lives a life of peace and honor, preferring to show his fighting skills only in the cage.
Thanks to his mentor, ONE Championship superstar Eddie “The Magician” Ng, Ben has flourished as a martial artist. In fact, Ben credits Eddie for all that he’s achieved. “The first time I cried during training, was because of Eddie. He pushed me and pushed me until I broke. But I shook it off and kept on going,” says Ben. “In fact, if I never met Eddie, I don’t know what I’d be doing right now.”
“I’ve seen Ben grow more than what he has as a fighter. When he first joined Evolve, he still had that bad boy attitude, “ Eddie tells Evolve Daily. “Today, he is a respectful, sociable and generally a much more pleasant person to be around.”
Today, Ben has become a role model to his younger brother, Sebastian, with whom he shares a room. “I hold pads for him and we wrestle WWE-style sometimes, “ reveals Ben. “He says that he wants to become a professional MMA fighter, so I do what I can to help him.”
Apart from helping his brother, another of Ben’s goals is to make his father proud. “He’s worked so hard for me, now it’s time for me to try to give him the good life he deserves,” says Ben.
There’s no doubt that Ben is ready for his debut. His coach, US Olympian Heath Sims agrees. “When you start out training with people better than you, it’s easy to give up. Ben’s been training with us for two years now and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. I’ve never seen him give up once.”
Eddie, too, believes in Ben’s perseverance. “His goal from day one was to be a fighter. And through his work ethic, determination, and focus he has achieved that,” says Eddie. “He definitely has the potential to do big things in MMA.”
Although six amateur fights aren’t the same as a bout in the ONE Championship cage, Ben remains unperturbed. “I’ve come this far and all I want to do is make my supporters proud, no matter what happens,” he says.
So now that you’ve learnt more about Benedict Ang, be sure to support and catch him live at ONE: Warrior’s Quest on 22 May at the Singapore Indoor Stadium!
Get your tickets online at Sports Hub Tix.