Interview: Juan Wen Jie for ONE Fighting Championship

How did you get remotely interested in the sport?
I chanced upon a DVD at the night market and wondering what this Brazilian jujitsu was all about. I also watched the World Wrestling Federation with my dad and it all came together after that.

Any fears before entering the ring?
By training hard, I don’t’ worry about getting injured. I have a gameplan such as keeping the opponent away and ensuring my guards are up. These days, I think more about my fight strategy and calming myself down. So there are different phases of thought. I haven’t suffered any major injuries except for the whiplash that prevented me from debuting last year.

Do you prefer sizing up your opponent first or just focusing on yourself?
I have no preference. He’s only human. I know he’s trying to kill me but I’ll just focus on what I’m going to do to him.

How’s your diet?
I’m currently doing a paleo diet—mimicking how a caveman would eat. I try to eat unprocessed and raw food as it’s for my longevity as well.

The fightcard says you’re up against Alex Lim from Malaysia. What do you know about him?
He’s pretty experienced in striking, especially with his accolades in muay thai and boxing. I can expect him to throw punches at me and so he’s dangerous. But overall, I think I’ll win.

How’s the fairer sex doing in the professional fighting scene?
In the scene, it’s still like a baby. I know quite a lot of female fighters in Singapore and they’re just waiting for the opportunity to break through. I’ve wrestled with girls in my gym and they’re really technical with their approach. When it comes to fighting women, it’s different, they tend to go all out and their cardio levels are high whereas men are a little more cautious and reserved. We have good female fighters around the region as well and they tend to be good grapplers with wrestling or jujitsu backgrounds. 

Have you been getting a lot of attention from the ground?
I’ve been getting a lot of texts and messages on facebook from old friends who’re surprised at my status at the moment! That aside, I’m just trying to balance the time between training and the media coverage.

Are you single? Any weird overtures from your female fandom?
Yes I am. Well so far, there hasn’t been any. Many of my fans are old friends and they still know me as the goofy Juan.

What happens during the off-season?
I still train but it’s more relaxed. I can go ahead and have some pizza and some of my favorite burgers. I’m pretty ordinary actually—I hang out in clubs with my friends, watch movies and go for buffets.

You definitely won’t have trouble defending yourself in clubs in the case of a fight…
[laughs] My friends actually train together with me. We spar together and sit around talking about training methods.

How do you finish off a day?
A good dinner, beer and a movie will be great.

What do your parents think about you in MMA?
They weren’t supportive at first but now they’re okay with things. The good results lessened their worries!

What do you think of the paper chase in Singapore?
Singaporeans in general are spoilt for choices. We’re relatively smart because of the kiasu spirit that drives us in self-preservation and sustenance. We’re great with backup plans but everything revolves around the dollar.

What is happiness to you?
I see an old couple walking down the street and I think that’s happiness.

Catch Juan Wei Jie in action at ONE Fighting Championship: Total Domination taking place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. October 18. 7pm. TIckets from $38-$148 from Sistic.