When Tiffany “No Chill” Teo first arrived in ONE Championship, she was on a tear.
She made her debut in the world’s largest martial arts organization in November 2016, and by November 2017, she had won four bouts in a row – bringing her overall record to 7-0.
Her fourth victory came on the main card, ended with a first-round armbar, and earned her a place opposite “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan in the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title bout.
However, the Team Highlight Reel representative believes her best bout came in her previous contest.
At ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES in May 2017, the Singaporean stepped out in front of her hometown crowd to put on her most well-rounded performance, which took her career to the next level.
This is how Teo remembers her defining moment in the ONE cage.
My favorite fight was my bout with Rebecca Heintzman-Rozewski, my third one in ONE, in Singapore.
I really liked that fight, because it was my first time facing a well-rounded fighter. I felt really calm in that fight, so it was a really good experience for me.
The nice thing about fighting in your hometown is it saves you a lot of time during fight week. When you are fighting in other countries, you have to watch your weight and find healthy food – it’s just a pain. Sometimes the hotel is far from the city center, and it’s hard to find healthy food.
It was also a huge benefit that I had made my debut for ONE in Singapore. I was so nervous for my first ONE Championship fight. It was so bad, because before that, I had only fought in smaller promotions like Singapore Fighting Championship and Full Metal Dojo.
The turnout was really small. FMD was just in a club with probably 500 people at most.
For my first ONE Championship fight, I walked out and saw all these people cheering for me, everyone shouting for me. It was pretty overwhelming, and my nerves really got to me.
After going through that, I kind of knew what to expect. I did a better job of calming my nerves, and I stayed more focused on the fight with Heintzman-Rozewski.
I wasn’t thinking about anything else. During the fight, there was a natural flow. I wasn’t feeling really nervous or overreacting. I felt really calm, and my reactions were instant.
It’s really cool that whenever I land a punch or get a takedown, the whole crowd cheers for me, so it’s nice to have that support when I’m fighting.
My other opponents were predominantly strikers, so it was the first time I put my ground skills to the test. When I first started grappling, I really sucked at it, and I hated it.
I thought that if the bout hit the ground I might get in trouble. So, when it went to the ground and I almost got two submissions, I felt like I performed pretty well.
[Heintzman-Rozewski] took me down and I was on my back, but I managed to control her in my guard. That was when I thought: “I’ve got this.”
I was in a bad position, but I was going for submissions. Throughout the whole fight, I never felt like I was in a vulnerable position.
I was pretty happy with my boxing for that fight, too. I was doing pretty well with counter-striking, and I was happy with how I handled the distance and controlled it.
I was really happy I won, but I was really more surprised by my opponent’s reaction, because she thought she won. She was so upset, and I saw a photo of her yelling. I think she really thought she won the fight.
Winning pushed me towards becoming a World Title contender. Since my start with ONE, fighting for the World Title has always been my end goal.
Every time they ask me in interviews where I see myself going, my end goal is to go for the title, so I always have been working towards that.
Before my next bout, when they finally told me: “If you win this fight, you get a title shot,” I was really excited. They only told me during fight week, so I didn’t get to know from the start of the camp.
I guess it was a good thing, because it took the stress off my mind. I got to know during fight week, and I was really prepared for the fight, so I went in thinking: “The only way this fight is going to turn out is with me winning. I’m going to give everything I’ve got to get where I want to be.”
(This interview was edited for clarity.)