The wait for Tiffany “No Chill” Teo’s return to ONE Championship is almost over.
On Friday, 9 November, she will make her comeback to the cage against eight-time BJJ World Champion Michelle Nicolini at ONE: HEART OF THE LION, which takes place in front of her home crowd inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
“I’m always excited to fight in Singapore in front of my fellow countrymen, friends, and family,” she says. “I’m really excited to be back after a long break, especially in Singapore.”
Tiffany Teo had "No Chill" on that armbar!Singapore | 9 November | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onelion18
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, October 20, 2018
When Teo last competed in the cage, it was to crown the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion.
Although the Team Highlight Reel representative fell short against “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan, she won a lot of fans for her never-say-die attitude. She did not back down, even when referee Oliver Coste stepped in to stop the contest.
“I guess I just refused to quit,” the 28-year-old says.
“I still knew what I was doing, and I was still aware of what was going on around me, so I just kept going. I felt like there was still a chance for me to win even though I was on the lower end of the scorecards.”
The loss may have ruined the Singaporean hero’s flawless record, but it has only motivated her to get back on the winning track next month.
There's "No Chill" in Tiffany Teo! Singapore | 9 November | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onelion18
Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, October 15, 2018
However, since her last bout, Teo has taken an uncharacteristically long break from the sport.
Ever since the start of her professional mixed martial arts career, “No Chill” has been in action at least three times a year, but she has been on the sidelines since January in an effort to recharge her batteries and come back stronger than ever.
“After talking to some of my coaches, they told me it would be a good idea to take a short break just to re-evaluate stuff,” she explains.
“You know, [people] say it takes a lot of discipline to train, but sometimes I feel like it takes more discipline to rest when you have to, so that’s why I kind of forced myself to do so. Even if I was out of training, I was always looking forward to getting back into it.
“I spent more time doing yoga and meditation. That definitely helped to keep my mind off training. I’m a yoga teacher too, so I spent more time teaching yoga and [focusing on] my own yoga practice.”
A ‘new’ Tiffany Teo will step into the cage – fully healed and with improved skills in every area of the game.
The Singapore Boxing Champion has enhanced her striking and continued to develop her grappling.
“I think this is the perfect timing,” she says.
“I feel like I’ve recovered from all my injuries and even before I knew that this match was coming, I started training a little bit more and focusing more on jiu-jitsu.
“Actually, before this match, I had a few jiu-jitsu competitions, and I feel like it’s a good build up – I’m slowly getting back into action, building up the intensity, and getting back to competition shape.”
Her first challenge will be a tough one, and she will need to be at the top of her game if the bout goes to the mat, as she has drawn Nicolini.
The Brazilian warrior holds the record for most IBJJF World Championship gold medals at the black belt level and touts a 5-1 mixed martial arts record. All of her wins in the cage have come by way of first-round submission.
“She’s a black belt, she’s a world-class grappling champion, and she competed in major grappling tournaments and won a lot of them,” Teo acknowledges.
“A lot of people and friends told me to be careful of her on the ground, but she should have pretty good striking because she trained at Evolve, where they have world-class champions and good coaches.
“It will be a really exciting fight, whether it stays on our feet or goes to the ground. I think grappling is her strength, but I will not underestimate her striking.”
Although Nicolini is a formidable opponent, Teo is not fazed by her. In fact, “No Chill” sees this bout as an opportunity to test how much she has improved during her break from competition.
“It will be challenging to go up against one of the top fighters who trained in one of the top gyms in Singapore,” she confesses. “But it will be nice to see how I fare against an athlete of her caliber.”