"I look forward to a wonderful performance, and I will go all out." - Ning Guangyou
Time is of the essence in every sport, but perhaps even more so in mixed martial arts, where a long layoff can introduce the dreaded ring rust into your vocabulary or cut precious months from a career that isn’t a lifelong one, but that captures a segment of time when you were able to battle on even terms with the best in the world.
And that’s for the 20 and 25-year-olds. When you’re 32 and getting ready to test yourself on the UFC level, a wait can be impossible to bear.
“I have not fought for nine months,” Beijing’s Ning Guangyou, the aforementioned 32-year-old, said. “The waiting time is too long.”
Originally scheduled to face Jianping Yang in the featherweight final of The Ultimate Fighter China in March, an injury to Yang forced the postponement of the bout and of Ning’s UFC debut. The wrestling specialist had parlayed knockout wins over Shih Liang and Rocky Lee into the final, but his momentum hit the skids when the news hit in February, forcing him to watch his castmates in Macao instead of competing with them.
“I saw the event in March, and the other TUF players and I are growing together and progressing,” Ning said. “We are good friends.”
On Saturday, finally, he will meet one of those friends in Macao, as his bout with Yang takes place on the UFC Fight Night card at CotaiArena. Describing his opponent, Yang, as “a strong man,” Ning doesn’t see the time off as a complete negative, as he has not only had the opportunity to build and refine his fight game, but also to get used to being a celebrity at home following his stint on the reality series.
“People have responded well,” Ning said of the reaction in China to the show and the sport. “There are now more and more people who like TUF and like the UFC. I also learned a lot about training and diet on TUF; I liked that period of time.”
But now the next chapter begins, and though it’s taken a while to turn that page, according to Ning, it’s better late than never.
“I look forward to a wonderful performance,” he said, “and I will go all out.”
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