The Indonesian striker, simply known as “Thathie,” will step inside the cage on Friday, 10 February, to face-off against unbeaten Singaporean prospect Tiffany “Soul Crusher” Teo in Kauala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“I am very excited and little bit nervous for this upcoming fight,” the 28-year-old says. “This is my debut fight in ONE Championship. Everybody knows ONE is a big event that draws huge audiences. My opponent has an undefeated record, but I am training very hard for this upcoming fight.”
The young and hungry strawweight is an accomplished kickboxing and wushu veteran with outstanding striking abilities from the southpaw stance. All of that could pose problems for Teo, her opponent who holds a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and spent a year on the Singapore national boxing team.
Gaol is well aware of the problems she can present in the standup realm of the match, and fully intends to maximize those strengths.
“I am a lefty. I think this could be a big advantage for me. Most of my opponents I fought are right-handed,” she says. “I think Tiffany will try to take me down and play on the ground. I do not think she wants to fight me in a standup fight.”
“Thathie”, a national champion in wushu-sanda, has tested her mettle in various combat sports and competitions over the years. She has the scars and bruises to prove it. All of the injuries incurred in competition have come along with numerous awards, trophies, and titles. That large and impressive body of work has assisted her greatly in the preparation for her highly-anticipated MMA debut.
“I have fought in many different martial art competitions, including Muay Thai, and boxing, amongst others,” “Thathie” explains. “Some fights I won. Some fights I lost. But all of those fights gave me confidence in the ring in front of large audiences. With the experience that I have and with more training, those things will help me to get ready for an MMA fight.”
Adding to the intrigue of this fight is the loose history between the two. Gaol has already competed against two of Teo’s close friends — a boxing match against her Juggernaut Fight Club teammate Nurshahidah Roslie and a Muay Thai contest against Tan Shi Yin.
Despite that, she downplays any confidence or advantages that could be taken from those fights, and shares that it will have little to do with her MMA debut.
“I have fought Nurshahidah and Shi Yin from Singapore,” she recalls. “They both are very good fighters, but I cannot compare them with the upcoming fight because I fought in different martial art disciplines at the time.”
Truly, the martial arts lifestyle completely embodies her. In fact, “Thathie” spends much of her spare time at Siam Tigershark as a trainer, coach, and mentor to many of the gym’s patrons.
Reflecting back, it is almost surreal to see Gaol at this point. What originally began as a side gig has turned into a full-blown occupation, and the martial arts spirit has given her a sense of fulfillment.
“First, I got involved in combat sports because I wanted to earn extra money,” Gaol admits. “Then it became my passion. That is why I learned so many different martial art disciplines. I chose this profession because I can see a career in this and I enjoy it so much.”
Now, she will take all of her martial arts knowledge and skills, and use it in her big MMA debut when she meets Teo in the ONE Championship cage. Though she has her heart set on victory, she knows how tough the Singaporean is, and defeating her is far from guaranteed.
“A win over Tiffany would be great thing, but I will not talk about it because Tiffany is not an easy opponent. I will do everything in my power to put on a good fight.”