Singapore’s Royston Wee battles past home-cage pressure for upset in UFC debut


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SINGAPORE – To say there was a little pressure on Royston Wee this week would probably be an understatement.

After just two pro fights, Wee signed with the UFC as the promotion’s first fighter from Singapore and made his promotional debut in the UFC’s first event there. Not only was he fighting for personal pride, but he had an entire country he was trying to do right by, as well.

But even as an underdog, Wee (3-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) left little doubt with a dominant win over David Galera (5-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC). He had to eat an illegal upkick to get there, but it probably was worth the price.

“It feels great,” Wee said after the win. “Coming into this fight, there was a lot of pressure from the public and the media. I just did what I needed to do – train hard and get my win.”

The 27-year-old bantamweight had to leave the first round for the first time against Galera. His first two pro fights both ended with first-round submissions – and those wins were more than two years ago.

So he had the pressure of a long layoff to go along with the pressure of performing in front of his home fans at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Singapore.

But it’s pressure that he tried his best to eschew ahead of the fight.

“Whether or not there are people who doubt me, my intention in the UFC is to win and to perform,” he said. “I’m glad I got my first win in my debut and I hope I brought a good fight to you guys. I’ve been training very hard for the past six months. I haven’t really had a break at all. I’m just glad I’m able to perform and bring a win tonight. I was just relieved that I can now take a vacation.”

Mark Fischer, the UFC’s Executive Vice President and Managing Director of UFC Asia, said he was encouraged by what Wee brought to the table in his debut.

“I think he’s got a very bright future based on what we saw tonight,” Fischer said. “A lot of people questioned Royston – is he the right guy? Is he really the best fighter in Singapore to be the first (in the UFC)? And I think he proved tonight that Sean Shelby and the guys who make those decisions in the UFC were correct. We’re looking forward to seeing Royston in the octagon again.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 34, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

John Morgan contributed to this report from Singapore.

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