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Choir girl wants to fulfill her destiny as martial arts champion

AS a young girl, Singaporean martial arts standout Tiffany “No Chill” Teo was heavily involved in choir activities, which she participated in for a decade.

 “I was a nerd when I was a kid. I was not very active,” Teo said.

Today, Teo is the polar opposite as she traded in her songbooks and rehearsal rooms for a pair of four-ounce gloves and the gym. Teo went from a quiet, unassuming choir girl to becoming a renowned strawweight martial arts prospect with an impressive record of 7-0.

The winding road to ONE Championship began in the oddest of places—in front of the television screen. Teo’s interest in martial arts, Muay Thai specifically, was stoked by popular reality show The Contender Asia.

Motivated by the aforementioned television program and a brief stint in Taekwondo, Teo made her way to a Singapore gym to start training in the “art of eight limbs” nearly eight years ago.

After training for two years, she put Muay Thai on the shelf completely as she packed her bags and headed to the United States to study Psychology at the University of Buffalo, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Tiffany Teo (right) trades punches with Rebecca Heintzman 
at the center of the cage during their ONE Championship bout won by Teo. ONE Championship

Teo then returned to Singapore and dove head-first into the amateur martial arts scene after just a month of training.

What was meant to be a one-time experience that she could cross off her bucket list soon turned into something more serious, all because she lost.

“I hate losing,” Teo said. “I decided to re-evaluate what I did wrong, and I wanted to continue.”

A far cry from her days in the choir, Teo’s journey to perfect her craft in martial arts progressed quickly.

After immersing herself with Muay Thai and boxing, Teo dabbled in the famous grappling discipline of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Before she knew it, the Singaporean was on the road to a full-fledged professional mixed martial arts career.

“I fell in love with martial arts. There is more to it than throwing strikes and grappling with your training partner on the mat. It empowers me every single day,” Teo said.

After having her hand raised in seven professional bouts inside the cage, Teo has received the biggest opportunity of her perfect martial arts career as she is scheduled to clash with “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan for the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship.

Both women are set to collide in the main event of ONE: Kings of Courage, which takes place at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia on Jan. 20.

The 28-year-old Singaporean title contender can make history on that fateful night, but she knows that it will not be easy.

“It takes a lot of discipline and hard work to be a world champion. We see how people change after they become the champion, so I feel like you need to stay humble, grounded, and continue to work hard,” she said.

Teo 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.

Topics: ONE Championship
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