With mixed martial arts (MMA), Muay Thai and kickboxing shows happening in China almost every single weekend, local fighters can make a living without ever leaving the country. In fact, welterweight Wang Sai even turned his back on Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) because he felt he could earn more money competing in his homeland.
But some Chinese fighters are not content to merely make a living out of the sport without ever establishing themselves on the worldwide stage. Ma Jia Wen was not short of offers but decided to sign for Asia’s biggest MMA promotion, ONE Championship, because he had ambitions which went well beyond his nation’s borders.
“Even though the fight purse are lower relative to some local Chinese shows I still choose ONE because it provides an international platform. Also it is much more regulated and the competition level is much higher.”
Wen has fought five times for ONE Championship, winning three of those matches. The 20-year-old phenom has fought in big indoor arenas in Beijing, Guangzhao, Singapore, and Macau against opponents from Russia and the Philippines as well as China itself.
The memory of my first bout still resonate with me. Everything about it left a tremendous impression on me; the back stage, my entrance, seeing the light, entering the cage, feeling the mat, looking across at my opponent and ultimately winning the fight. It is still surreal to me.
He first appeared at ONE: “Dynasty of Champions” in June 2015, and says this is an experience that he will cherish for the rest of his life.
“The memory of my first bout still resonate with me. Everything about it left a tremendous impression on me; the back stage, my entrance, seeing the light, entering the cage, feeling the mat, looking across at my opponent and ultimately winning the fight. It is still surreal to me.”
Next up is a match against Indonesia’s Yohan Mulia Legowo on March 11th. It will be Wen’s first time fighting in Thailand and he hopes to win over the fans at the Impact Arena in Bangkok.
“I honestly don’t know how the international audiences view me as a fighter and as a person because my English is limited. Lately, I am more aware of my international presence and recognition and I am flattered, it’s something to be proud of and no-one outside of China would know my name if I wasn’t fighting for ONE Championship.”
Wen trains out of Tianjin Top Team and has a background in freestyle wrestling. He says fighting for a big international promotion brings more pressure than competing in China but it is a challenge he relishes.
“Of course I wish to demonstrate my best ability to the worldwide audiences and it can be stressful sometimes. I do believed that the added pressure is a good thing for me. It forces me to be more focused.”
Source:: mma mania