When strawweight contender Tiffany Teo selected her nickname, she had no idea if, or how, she would live up to the moniker. Dubbed “The Soul Crusher,” the 27-year-old Singaporean chose it as a play on a friend’s nickname.
“It is nothing too cool,” she says of the story. “I had a teammate from India, and his nickname was ‘The Kerala Krusher.’ I thought that was a cool nickname, and wanted something with ‘Crusher,’ too. My old coach nicknamed me ‘The Soul Crusher’, and it stuck.”
On Friday Night, 26 May, “The Soul Crusher” will attempt to keep her undefeated record intact when she clashes with Rebecca “The Professor” Heintzman-Rozewski on the prelims of ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES. Making this bout even more intriguing is the fact that the event takes place on Teo’s home turf at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Teo is a national boxing champion with an extensive Muay Thai background, and holds a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. When the 27-year-old made her professional mixed martial arts debut in February 2016, she came as advertised. She scored an opening-round knockout over her opponent with a head kick.
After years of competition in other martial arts disciplines, it was the first time “The Soul Crusher” ever stopped an opponent.
“I was surprised I knocked her out with that kick,” she says. “Most of my fights went to decision. It was a nice feeling to know I had the power to knock somebody out. I always wondered if I had knockout power. It helped with my confidence.”
Teo’s winning ways continued. She returned last year for her second bout, which ended in a first-round submission win. That was followed by another TKO in September. Almost immediately, she signed with ONE Championship, and was set to make her promotional debut at the company’s show that November.
“I found out I would be fighting on my birthday in front of my family, friends and fans,” the heroine says. “It was a really good experience.”
Actually, it was a great experience. At ONE: DEFENDING HONOR, Teo dominated Walaa Abbas, and finished her in the second round with a rear-naked choke. She followed that performance up with another excellent showing, defeating Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol at ONE: THRONE OF TIGERS this past February.
Now, with a perfect 5-0 record, the Singaporean draws Heintzman-Rozewski at ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES.
Known as “The Professor,” Heintzman-Rozewski is an American grappler who currently resides in Shanghai, China. After a sparkling amateur career, the Animals MMA product made her professional debut in 2013 and has since gone an even 2-2.
The 30-year-old American is now looking to rebound from a disappointing loss to current ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee from their encounter in February 2016, making her just that bit more dangerous.
Teo acknowledges the threat her intelligent opponent poses.
“She will be the first grappler I have ever fought,” the Singaporean says. “It will be pretty interesting. If it is a standup fight, my striking is better than hers, for sure. We will see how it goes.”
Needless to say, Teo envisions a victory, and doing it to the roars of her fellow countrymen at the Singapore Indoor Stadium would be all the sweeter.