A former football player in Canada, Paul Cheng may have started fighting MMA too late, but the 35-year-old heavyweight feels that everything he has done in the past helps him succeed now.
At 3-1 in MMA, Cheng makes his One FC debut on Dec. 6 in Manila, Philippines, against the dangerous Alain Ngalani, and he’s confident that his experience in the fields will give in an advantage.
"My athleticism and explosive power and strength had helped me transition from football to MMA," Cheng told MMAFighting.com. "I have also learning played in front of big crowds and experienced the pressure of being a professional athlete and that mental edge will help me inside and outside of the cage. The constant hand fighting and pushing bigger men in football has been useful in MMA.
"My transition from football to MMA has been quite difficult, but the trials and tribulations made me tougher," he continued. "I first started with boxing and I did some amateur wrestling in high school at Simon Fraser University. That experience made my transition a bit easier, but losing close to 40 pounds and learning all the different aspects of MMA has been difficult, but I am having a lot of fun and getting better every day."
Coming off a pair of wins in Canada, Cheng makes his first One FC appearance against a kickboxing expert in Ngalani. The Cameroon heavyweight may be only 1-0 in MMA after a 31-second knockout win at One FC 10, but his 25-7-1 kickboxing record, with 23 knockout victories, poses a real threat.
"I worked a lot of muay thai and my ground game very extensively," Cheng said. "I'm prepared to stand or take it to the floor. Alain is a great kickboxer but, again, this is an MMA fight, not kickboxing.
"I saw Ngalani's One FC debut and he looks tough, especially on his stand up. He is very dangerous with his kicks and is very athletic. It was a very short fight, and I want to explore his overall MMA game and see whether the rest of his skills match up to his striking."
Cheng has finished both of his last fights in less than two minutes, but he believes his next fight will be his toughest.
"I’m excited for my One FC debut," he said. "I expect this fight to be a war, He is an excellent striker and very athletic. I expect him to want to keep this fight standing and throw his kicks, but I am prepared to go anywhere, either standing or on the ground.
"I'm confident going into this fight. I had a lot of time to prepare and make improvements in my overall game, both standing and on the ground. You will see the best Paul Cheng in the cage on Dec. 6."