Nations need to develop their own talent if they want mixed martial arts (MMA) to grow in Asia.
There is no use transplanting an athlete, or even a star, according to former MMA fighter Miesha Tate.
The 30-year-old American retired from the sport last month but, as recently as March, she was the women's bantamweight champion with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the world's biggest MMA promotion.
She said: "It doesn't help so much to bring Americans or Europeans to fight here. It's always more fun if I go to a sporting event and there's someone from home whom I can root for and be partial towards.
"It will be great if Singapore has its own champion."
Tate is in Singapore for an eight-day stopover en route back to the United States from Melbourne, where she attended a UFC event on Nov 26.
It was not all a holiday for her. Besides sampling local food and taking in the sights at Marina Bay Sands and Arab Street, she also pulled on her gym gear at Evolve MMA's Far East Square gym, joining local-based fighters - including One Championship women's atomweight titleholder Angela Lee and eight-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) world champion Michelle Nicolini - for their training sessions.
She revealed that she spent the past few days honing her grappling skills on the mats, as she prepares to take part in a submission contest on Dec 11, facing Jessica Eye in Submission Underground 2 in Oregon.
She said: "I was happy to learn from grappling with Michelle. Her styles are different and it presented some problems for me. Now that I am transitioning more to BJJ, coming here is ideal because there were newer challenges that were presented to me which I had not previously realised.
"Grappling in MMA is different, because there's punching involved as well. But after my training with her, I went back and was like, 'I need to Google to search for how to defend against that sweep' because you don't see much of that in the US."
While Tate had not heard of Lee prior to her visit to Singapore, she is very impressed with the 20-year-old One Championship star, and does not rule out the fan favourite becoming a UFC champion one day.
She said: "She is such a forward-style fighter, she breaks girls' wills. And she's so technically good. So she can push her pace without having to worry about being caught out of position.
"I can see why she's a champion, she's already at a high level with One Championship now. And the opportunity for her is limitless."
In March, Tate beat Holly Holm - the fighter who ended the unbeaten record of Ronda Rousey last year - via a technical submission to win the bantamweight title. But in her first title defence bout in July, she lost the belt to Amanda Nunes via a rear-naked choke in the first round.
She then abruptly announced her retirement inside the octagonal cage at the UFC 205 event in New York's Madison Square Garden on Nov 12, after losing to Raquel Pennington via a unanimous decision.
However, her time is not up yet in the fighting scene. She said: "Dec 11's fight is all I have planned for at the moment, but we do have things in the works. I always love the sport and I'll find a way to be involved in some ways, shape or form."