Royston Wee will make history as the first ever Singaporean to fight in the Octagon. He will debut in the equally historic event UFC Fight Night 34 in Singapore on January 4, 2014.
Royston Wee is an MMA and Muay Thai trainer at Impact MMA, one of Singapore’s oldest MMA gyms. His career in professional MMA has been short, but it can’t be the only telling sign of his abilities. After all, he has been picked to lead the charge into uncharted territory for the UFC.
Wee will have the hometown support when he steps into the biggest battle of his life against fellow debutant Dave Galera from the Philippines. MMA-in-ASIA spoke with Wee at the open workouts prior to Fight night 34.
MMA-in-ASIA: How did you get picked as the first Singaporean in the UFC?
Wee: I went for the tryouts that were held in Singapore for The Ultimate Fighter China and I was selected as an alternate, and I actually stayed in China for about three weeks. That’s how I got to know David Stern and some of the people in the UFC. Eventually, they put me on this show.
MMA-in-ASIA: So they saw your skills then?
Wee: Yes, they saw my grappling and striking.
MMA-in-ASIA: People shouldn’t think you’re just one guy they pulled out of the crowd then.
Wee: No, not really. I believe it’s the right time and place, and I’m just the right guy.
MMA-in-ASIA: Tell me about your personal background in MMA. How did you get started, and how long have you been doing it?
Wee: I started with martial arts because I was a really scrawny and unfit little kid. I wanted to learn something to protect myself and to keep fit, you know for us Singaporen guys, we have to go into national military service. So I thought I would want to prepare for that. Eventually I fell in love with the sport. It’s the longest sport I’ve ever done, for more than five and a half years. I’m actively practicing in wrestling, jib jitsu, striking. The good thing about MMA is that there are so many disciplines, you will never be bored.
MMA-in-ASIA: What do you think about your opponent, Dave Galera?
Wee: Dave is my toughest opponent so far. On aper he has five wins, no losses, and he’s the interim Bantamweight Champion of the URCC. SO everything’s good on him. It feels good to be the underdog, the pressure is not that big. Dave’s a great guy. We both treat this as a pro fight and we don’t have to hold a grudge or anything.
MMA-in-ASIA: Who have you been training with to get ready for this fight?
Wee: I train with guys of a similar height as him, and who are bigger and stronger than him. Technically superior grapplers. I brought in a Malaysian Invasion MMA Champion, Adrian Tham. He’s huge and strong and he’s one of the perfect guys for me, because he’s so good at grappling. Also people like Major Overall. Not to forget all my great training coaches, they are top notch.
MMA-in-ASIA: How do you feel about the UFC finally coming to Singapore and you actually getting to be in the Octagon?
Wee: It’s just indescribable. It’s crazy, you know. I’m just glad I can be the first Singaporean to fight in the first UFC in Singapore. The training camp has been good and I just can’t wait for Saturday.