On the surface, ONE Championship lightweight athlete Ev “E.T.” Ting’s path to becoming a professional martial artist was fairly conventional.
While Ting’s love for the martial arts began with an addiction to watching DVDs of famous Japanese league Pride, the Kiwi-Malaysian’s approach has a subtle yet significant edge to it.
Most mixed martial artists will tell you they realized the kind of exceptional ability after an extended period of training, even a couple of matches.
In Ting’s case, he appeared at the gym’s front doorstep on day one adamant that he was going to make martial arts his job — without even having thrown a single strike.
“I showed up and told coach Hamish Robertson at Auckland MMA, ‘Hey, I really want to give this a shot, I want to make this a career,’” Ting recalls.
“Most people want to try it out and do it for fitness and have one fight, and take a lot of pictures. For me, it was how do I get there? I knew exactly what I wanted. I set the big goals from day one.”
Robertson — his head trainer to this day — put him on the right track, and the rest is history.
“He put me through a fundamental program and then a few grappling matches, then developed me through the journey,” Ting says. “All the props to him. He’s definitely been a big guidance through my career.”
It’s a testament to Ting’s drive and determination that he was able to achieve what seemed — at the time — such a lofty goal.
Now, 21 professional bouts deep, he will take his talents to the big stage at ONE: CALL TO GREATNESS in Singapore on Friday, 22 February against Saygid “Dagi” Guseyn Arslanaliev.
This will be a quarter-final bout in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix, an eight-man tournament to decide who will become the Grand Prix Champion and the number one contender for the division’s World Title.
Ting has his target firmly set on the strap, which he came close to claiming once before. This time, he will not let the opportunity pass him by.
“There’s a new belt on the line for this GP and there’s nothing I’d like more than that, and I feel like I’m in a good position to get it,” he says. “Unleash and show my skills on fight night, and I should be alright.”