The story that typically goes with the background of most fighters will read quite similarly. Usually it involves training in some sort of martial art discipline, and then, through learning, a gradual transition to MMA takes place. New Zealander Ev Ting’s experience, on the other hand, differs quite a bit.

“I was a fan of Pride and would watch that on YouTube and stuff,” he revealed in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “One day, a martial arts gym opened up in Auckland and I joined. I didn’t train any other form of martial arts before that.”

Despite having not competed in any form of combat sport, Ting notched up three wins in four amateur bouts. And just one year later, he made his professional debut. Ting’s professional MMA debut was exactly that—his first foray into professional competition.

“There were a lot of nerves in my first professional fight. I didn’t want to disappoint, and I wanted to impress everybody,” he explained. “Now it’s more about myself though, and it’s about self-improvement and working on what I need to be better at.”

Ting (black shorts) (Legend Fighting Championship)

Life for Ting isn’t all about competing. Like most up-and-coming fighters, he has to balance a job to pay the bills as well as a consistent training regime to stay in the best shape and as fight-ready as possible.

“I do some work as a personal trainer in the mornings and then usually make the gym for the lunch-time class,” he said. “After that, I work at my family’s café as a barista and then train at night. It is pretty full-on, but once you get into a routine it’s all good.”

His next opponent, Yeong Gwang Choi of South Korea, has double Ting’s fight experience and has won the majority of his fights by submission. Although it’s usually a case that the more experienced fighter will have an advantage in MMA, Ting raises another vital point that also makes the sport so unpredictable.

“To a certain degree, records don’t really mean that much,” he said. “I think that fight experience did play a bigger factor in the sport when in the earlier days, but these days you see it all the time—anything can happen once we are in there.”

“I am certainly not as nervous as I was in my last fight with Legend. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing [laughs]. He is pretty good on the ground, and he has some really effective transitions. My plan is to just go in there and hit him as hard as I can so I don’t have to find out about his ground game.”

Ting (Sherdog)

Legend FC builds its shows around the best match-ups that it can find with fighters from around the Asia-Pacific region. Obviously, for fighters like Ting this means that in order to fight they have to travel internationally. And a support network is vital when making a trek to a foreign country for any kind of work.

“It’s definitely cool to be travelling with other Kiwis,” he said. “We go in there and it’s got a real team feeling to it. It’s good to go through all the processes with people you know and also see how they prepare for their fights.

“I am living the dream. Everybody loves to travel, and I get to do that while doing the thing that I love. It’s pretty awesome, and I am grateful for everything that Legend [does] for me. They really look after their fighters.”

It has been a long time between fights for Ting, who likes to keep as active as possible. His last fight was in November of 2012, when he won the SFC featherweight title, and with a lack of activity in his home country, he relies on fighting overseas to keep his skills sharp and his fight experience up.

“I have been hungry for a fight for a while now,” he admitted. “It’s very hard to get a fight in New Zealand. I am ready to fight, that’s for sure.”

The adage of achieving anything that you put your mind to certainly plays a part in how Ting’s career has unfolded. Hard work and dedication are the key aspects to Ting being one of the best featherweight fighters to come out of New Zealand.

With a few more wins over the best fighters of the Asia-Pacific region,Ting might become a fighter that fans all around the globe are watching on YouTube. Perhaps those fans will even be inspired to chase a dream of their own.

Ev would like to thank NZMMA and Nutratech. Follow him on Facebook.

Top Photo: Ev Ting (black shorts) (Legend Fighting Championship)

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.