The eye of the Tiger has turned to the Ultimate Fighting Championship with the announcement that another Chinese fighter has been signed onto the books of the world’s biggest mixed martial arts body.
That man is 31-year-old Wang “The Dongbei Tiger” Guan, who said he is now looking to make his debut in Singapore on June 17.
“I will continue to keep a clean record in the UFC, showing the world my ‘China Power,’” Wang said in a statement on Tuesday. “It’s a dream come true … the opponents I face next will be the best in the world. This will push me to train even harder.”
Fighting out of the Xian Sports University, Wang boasts an overall MMA record of 15-1-1 in a career that has so far seen him battling away mostly in the Shanghai-based Ranik Ultimate Fighting Federation, known as RUFF, where he was a featherweight champion. He’s listed at 146 pounds, and 5 feet 11 inches.
The signing — first hinted at by UFC at a press event in Singapore last week — is part of the Las Vegas-based group’s continued push into Asia. Events are scheduled for Tokyo (date to be decided) and another Asian city (TBC), as well as Australia and New Zealand.
But it’s China that remains an elusive target, following two UFC events in the southern city of Macau, a self-administered Chinese territory. Now, UFC is looking further north.
“We’re definitely working on our first event in mainland China,” UFC’s senior vice-president, head of international and content, Joe Carr, said in Singapore. “We were successful in Macau, and that’s fine, but our ambitions are mainland China.”
Wang joins Beijing-based Li “The Leech” Jingliang in the UFC. Li was last seen fighting on Fox 23 in Denver, Colorado, in January — and impressed with a second-round KO of American Bobby Nash to take his record with the organization to 4-2 (and to 12-4 overall in MMA).
After the bout, Li said it was only a matter of time before Asia — and China — had a local world UFC champion to cheer.
“Asian and Chinese fighters need more time to develop our techniques,” he said. “But one day we will win the UFC title, and this day is not very far away.”