'Enjoy the moment'
Pro MMA fighter approaches matches with detached attitude
For a fighter a few days away from a potential fifth straight win, Mr Eddie Ng appears relaxed.
He is against top Dutch fighter Vincent Latoel in one of 10 fights organised by One Fighting Championship (One FC) to be held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday.
Mr Ng has racked up four consecutive wins for One FC, which is regarded as the biggest mixed martial arts (MMA) organisation in Asia.
But the 28-year-old is definitely not excited about the coming match.
"If a fighter tells you he's excited before a match, he's lying," said the Singapore-based athlete.
"You start to go through all the worst-case scenarios. Every fighter does it," he added.
Born in Hong Kong, Mr Ng moved to Singapore in 2011 from Britain.
Having spent 12 years in MMA, he said experience has changed how he approaches his fights.
He said: "Yes, I'm scared, but the way I ground myself now is to think, 'You're not going to do this forever, so enjoy this moment now.'"
The 1.73m-tall fighter takes a similar approach to his own life.
As a professional MMA fighter and instructor, he has a gruelling routine.
His alarm clock goes off at 7am and by 8.15am, he is out of his Toa Payoh flat and on a kick scooter to head to the MRT station.
He starts his day with morning training at 9am at Evolve MMA's Far East Square branch, where he is based.
The two-hour morning session has a more "all-round" focus, Mr Ng said, and often involves sparring and using the cage.
He returns at 2pm for another training session which focuses on techniques from different martial arts that are often used in MMA, like muay thai and Brazilian jiujitsu.
Two hours later, he makes his way to another Evolve MMA's branch in PoMo mall, where he teaches children's classes.
He said: "When I lived in the UK, I faced a lot of bullying and racism and this really damaged my self-confidence.
"So it's rewarding to see these shy, scared kids build personality because of the classes."
Mr Ng is home by 8pm and goes to bed at about midnight.
He also teaches weekend classes.
Despite his packed schedule, he tries to keep it as flexible as possible.
He said: "I don't like to be too specific (with regard to my schedule).
"When things don't go perfectly according to plan, it can have an effect on your mood and this can affect many other things."
This is a mentality he has picked up from MMA.
"It's so unpredictable and you never know how a fight would go. So you need to give some leeway and try to adapt," Mr Ng said.
This philosophy applies to his diet too.
While the lightweight fighter watches what he eats (see report above), he sometimes has "cheat days" where he eats whatever he wants.
"It's a good mental break and motivates me to eat better after," he said.
As the fight on Friday approaches, the self-confessed geek seeks refuge in movies, comic books and Japanese anime.
"It keeps my mind off MMA for a while and gives me balance," he said.
Mr Ng is an avid video-gamer.
Role-playing games help him to relax, but his favourite are beat 'em up games like Street Fighter.
"I used to play them with my brothers for hours. But I don't have as much time as I did then."
But playing these games are a release for his competitive nature, especially when training slows down.
"When someone challenges me (to video games), I get more nervous than I do facing another MMA fighter," he said.
"I have to win."
One Fighting Championship's Honor & Glory competition
Friday at 7pm
Singapore Indoor Stadium
From $38 to $348. Visit www.sportshubtix.sg to buy tickets
He eats for optimal performance
While Mr Ng tries to be flexible with what he eats, the lightweight MMA fighter sticks to food high in micro-nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
These include dark leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach and romaine lettuce, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli, as well as walnuts and avocado.
"Your body doesn't just work on protein, carbohydrates and fat. It works on a finer scale, and micro-nutrients like vitamins and minerals are essential," he explained.
Mr Ng watches what he eats for performance and to keep within his weight class. He normally maintains his weight between 75 and 80kg.
"Growing up, you see these guys with big muscles and washboard abs. So initially, I ate to change the way I looked," he said.
"But how you look in MMA has absolutely zero bearing on how you perform, so now I eat for performance first and foremost," he added.