Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

UFC announces ‘Dongbei Tiger’ Wang Guan as latest Asian fighter to join its growing ranks

After teasing fans last week, the Chinese star is revealed as US-based body’s latest star attraction

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2017, 1:34pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2017, 10:48pm

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) let the cat out of the bag on Tuesday morning. And he’s a pretty impressive cat at that.

After teasing fans in Asia last week that the signing of a new Chinese star was imminent, the world’s major mixed martial arts organisation revealed featherweight “The Dongbei Tiger” Wang Guan was the man in question.

The 31-year-old will bring an overall MMA record of 15-1-1 to the party – and plenty of confidence to the Octagon - and said he hoped to make his debut when the UFC returns to Singapore on June 17.

“I will continue to keep a clean record in the UFC, showing the world my ‘China Power’,” Wang said in statement. “It’s a dream come true, my ability is approved by the UFC now. This also means the opponents I face next will be the best in the world. This will push me to train even harder”.

Wang weighs in at 146 pounds, stands at 1.80 metres tall and fights out of the Xian Sports University. Most of his battles have come with the Shanghai-based Ranik Ultimate Fighting Federation (RUFF) where he was a former featherweight champion.

The UFC had hyped up the announcement at a press event last week in Singapore where the organisation had announced it was returning to the Lion City – a card that will mark the UFC’s return to Asia after a 15-month break. Hope will be now be high among fans across the region that the Singapore card will come with plenty of locals to cheer on, something the UFC’s senior vice-president, head of international and content, Joe Carr had first alluded to last week.

UFC makes long-awaited return to Asia with Singapore set to host fight night in June

“We always want to have our top talent, we always want to have top-10 fighters and obviously have local flair and local nuance,” said Carr when asked about the make-up of future events in Asia.

The Chinese flag has been flying high in the UFC so far in 2017 with welterweight Li “The Leech” Jingliang who appeared at UFC on Fox 23 in Denver, Colorado in January – and walked away with a second-round KO of American Bobby Nash that took his own record with the organisation to 4-2 (and to 12-4 overall in MMA).

After that win, Li told the Post that an Asian UFC world champion was waiting in the wings.

“Asian and Chinese fighters need more time to develop our techniques for the sport but one day we will win the UFC title, and this day is not very far away,” he said.

Obviously the Las Vegas-based UFC places huge importance on furthering its reach into the Chinese market. It has so far staged two events in Macau but Carr said last week in Singapore that mainland events were a priority.

Bring it on: ‘The Leech’ Li Jingliang stakes a claim for greatness after devastating UFC win

Alongside the Singapore event, Carr said UFC would stage a show in Tokyo later this year, one more at a yet-to-de-decided venue in Asia, and one each in both Australia and New Zealand.

“We’re definitely working on our first event in mainland China,” he said. “We’ve had a couple of events in Macau but it’s completely different going to a Beijing or a Shanghai. I have nothing to announce but it’s definitely a priority and a focus for the organisation. We were successful in Macau and that’s fine but our ambitions are mainland China.”

Alongside the Singapore event, Carr said UFC would stage a show in Tokyo later this year, one more at a yet-to-de-decided venue in Asia, and one each in both Australia and New Zealand.