After one year, Welterweight Alex Niu finally makes his way back into the Legend FC ring on August 24th to welcome LFC newcomer New Zealand’s Luke Jumeau. Alex is a heavy hitter who comes from a Muay Thai background and has been in over 30 such fights, far more than his MMA record. He first started to learn martial arts from Wang Jina, a kung fu master on the iconic Emei Mountain, when he was just ten years old. After entering the military, Alex began to train Sanda. His Special Forces involvement allocated him even tougher training, and he says it helped make him what he is today. Alex then went on to study and compete in Muay Thai in Thailand, and made the transition to MMA in 2010. He is humble, friendly, and very demanding of himself, and a true enthusiast of the martial arts .
Alex trained for the better part of a year in Ole Laursen’s Legacy Gym in Ubon, Thailand. Prior to his upcoming fight, he relocated back to China and to Xi’an, where he trains with the Sports University team and Vaughn Anderson. Their training is hard and demanding, with both a morning and an afternoon session, covering all aspects of the sport of MMA. The gym is spacious and the air is fresh. It is well-equipped and everything is available to the fighters, plus they are happy to train together with good friends. But they don’t have much time to play in the scenic spots around Xi’an after training.
Alex had his first fight in Legend FC against Wang Sai, which was a three round stand up war he won and earned fight of the night. He went on to be submitted in Master Toddy’s Thai Fight Club by Cris Haja – a very strong BJJ fighter – and it made him focus on his own ground game. When he returned to Legend FC against Li JingLiang, he again fought a three round war but this time he showed that his ground skills had definitely improved. Alex is currently 1-3 in MMA, and part of his lopsided record is that he doesn’t back up – he always pushes the fight and makes it very exciting, win or lose.
How do you feel about the training in Xi’an these days?
It’s pretty good. I have made great progress in wrestling and ground fighting. My stand up game is good too, better than before. In short, I’m satisfied with my improvement in many aspects currently.
Vaughn Anderson has recently located to Xi’an and now you are training with him. What do you learn from him? Please give your opinion of him.
Well, we are good friends for a long time, he is easy-going and friendly. Vaughn is really hardworking, his willpower is strong and his level of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is high. Personally speaking, I think he is a real brave fighter and his spirit inspires me to be strong.
As many people are aware, you are a good Muay Thai fighter. Why did you change to MMA?
In fact, I’m a martial arts enthusiast. I have learned a variety of martial arts, not only Muay Thai, but also sanda, taekwondo and karate. I want to learn and fight with various skills of martial arts, so MMA is the best choice to me.
Is this your first time to Xi’an?
Yeah, I have never been here before.
What do you think about the food here?
Xi’an made a great impression on me, especially the food. I liked eating beef and mutton in my home town when I was a child. I have been to Muslim Snack Street and the beef and mutton there is tasty. I like Xi’an local food very much.
Are there any fighters you admire?
Frankly speaking, I’m not one to adore someone, I just want to be myself. To tell the truth, I like reading good books and studying philosophy. I‘m eager for knowledge and wisdom.
Which philosophical theories do you find are helpful to you?
Well, it’s a symbol specifically. I adore the symbol of yin and yang, which represents the two opposing principles in nature. It means balance and I can use its principle to solve all kinds of problems in my life.
Are you a full-time fighter?
You will be fighting soon in Hong Kong’s Legend FC. Are you ready for it?
I try to do my best every game and whatever opponent I confront I will work my hardest. Above all, I will make sure I am fully prepared.
How is your condition?
Everyone knows it is super good!
What have you been working on the most for this fight?
I’ve been working hard on everything. The gym in Xi’an is full of very hard Chinese fighters. I’m working on my power – on my tiger energy!
What is your weight cut like?
I work on it slowly. Right before the fight it will be quick and easy to finish.
What do you think you will weigh at the fight?
About 83 kilos.
What would you say is your style now, have you changed from being a stand-up striker?
I would like to know that – I don’t know. I will see in the ring.
Do you train jiujitsu in the gi?
No, I only grapple. I don’t like the gi. I don’t care about a belt, always working for a belt is really tiring, I want to be free!
Good luck on your fight, Alex!
Ole Laursen, a man of few words anyway, had this to say about Alex:
“Alex kicks like a horse.”
His current training partner and MMA coach in Xi’an Vaughn also has good words about Alex:
“It hurts holding pads for him. He focuses on strength when he trains, but his conditioning is awesome for this fight. He works really hard and his ground game is a lot better. Alex has a wife and home in Shanghai, so he sacrifices a lot to stay in places where the training is good.”
– Max Zheng, China Correspondent