SINGAPORE - Many fighters would be eager for a title shot, especially right after losing one, to prove their worth.
However, Singaporean mixed martial arts fighter Tiffany Teo feels she has to earn her right to do so again by winning a couple more bouts.
This is despite her notching the biggest win of her career when she won her women's strawweight bout against eight-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Michelle Nicolini by unanimous decision at One Championship's Heart of the Lion event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday.
She said: "With ample notice, I'm up for it but seeing how the other divisions play out, I feel like I'm one or two more wins from another title shot.
"In any case, I would rather work for it, rather than have it given to me on a plate."
Teo had earned respect and praise for the way she refused to give up in her defeat by China's Xiong Jingnan in their strawweight title clash in Jakarta in January.
Her tenacity once again shone through against Nicolini, who could not finish the Singaporean off with an armbar in the first round before the bell rang.
While successfully defending against the Brazilian's take-down and submission attempts, the 28-year-old turned the tables in the following rounds with ferocious punches and kicks before winning over the judges to take her professional fight record to 8-1.
Teo credited a four-month lay-off for her renewed vigour.
She said: "I learnt a lot from the loss to Xiong Jingnan. She was the toughest opponent I had faced and I realised the loopholes in my game. I was also not ready mentally.
"So, I took time off my regular training to read up on sports psychology and spent more time on yoga and meditation."
Her strategy worked as she emerged victorious.
"It was really emotional because I was coming back from a loss and I had a lot to prove, and I was fighting against another tough opponent," said Teo.
"I'm glad I managed to win in Singapore with my fans, family and friends around and the energy was amazing.
"This was my fourth time fighting in Singapore and I'm looking forward to my next Singapore card next year."