MMA fighter Ooi raring to go for ONE debut
May Ooi's coach, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black-belt holder, backs her student in her ONE Championship debut
By nature, mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter and former national swimmer May Ooi storms the cage with unparalleled aggression.
Come next Friday, the 40-year-old Singaporean will be looking to take that ferocity to the ring when she takes on top Malaysian strawweight contender Ann Osman in her debut at the ONE: Quest for Greatness event in Kuala Lumpur.
To add spice to the encounter, this Causeway contest takes place on the eve of the SEA Games opening ceremony in the same city.
And, being a multiple SEA Games gold medallist herself, Ooi would love to deal a psychological blow to the hosts.
However, Ooi's fight team of Brazilian jiu-jitsu black-belt holder Takeo Tani and boxing world champion Muhamad Ridhwan will be looking to contain Ooi's aggression by helping her channel it appropriately for her bout.
Speaking to The New Paper at Equilibrium Gym, Tani, 42, sang high praises of Ooi as a fighter.
"May is an easy student to teach. If all my students were like her, my life would be very easy," said the black-belt holder with 32 years of jiu-jitsu experience.
"She is born to win and, even in training, she hates to lose. So I have to choose her sparring partners carefully because she is a very aggressive fighter.
"She has improved a lot, but she is like a diamond that still needs to be polished. She is too aggressive.
"I had to teach her to control it and strike a balance between aggression and technique, or she will burn herself out really quickly when she grapples on the ground or standing up.
"But we are ready for anything that Ann tries.
"I believe that she will win in the first round and Ann will kiss the mat.
"May is a complete fighter and has heart. She wants to be a champion."
Ooi's boxing coach, Universal Boxing Organization world super featherweight champion Ridhwan, has been working on her "boxing IQ (intelligence quotient)" before her clash with Ann.
In an interview with The New Paper at Legends Fight Sport, Ridhwan, 29, said: "I've been working on improving May's boxing IQ for the fight against Ann to help her channel her power more effectively.
"Footwork and punching power have been our main focus in fight camp and, with better balance, power and comprehensive punching combinations, May will just be waiting for Ann to slip up.
"It doesn't matter what Ann is going to do, the punch is going to hit her.
"May's mentality is tip-top, she controls her diet and she trains smart. After every session, she beats the previous version of herself.
"I foresee that the only time May will get hurt in the fight is if she punches Ann so hard that she injures herself."