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How an underdog Street Fighter 6 player beat the odds to win $1 million

A player holds a check for a million dollars at a Street Fighter 6 tournament.

It didn’t take long for last year’s excellent Street Fighter 6 to take the fighting game world by storm. Capcom’s critically praised fighting game didn’t just revitalize the Street Fighter series, but reignited interest in the fighting genre as a whole. Capcom then focused on growing the competitive side of Street Fighter 6  by hosting a new entry of its tournament circuit, Capcom Cup, with a first-place prize of $1 million.

That historic prize pool was enough to awaken a fighting game community that was hungry to land a win. While many big names battled, the ultimate winner was a bit of a surprise. The million-dollar prize went to an unsponsored face that you might not recognize: Wang “UMA” Yuan-hao.

Yuan-hao is a relatively new face to the world of competitive fighters, having made his tournament debut in 2017 with Street Fighter 5. Despite lacking the decades of experience and notoriety his opponents had under their belts (as well as hailing from the underdog country of Taiwan), Yuan-hao tackled every challenge to become the Capcom Cup champion.

His story encapsulates why the fighting game community is so special in the world of esports. Seeing someone relatively unknown show up and win a worldwide tournament is the classic tale of hard work paying off and opens the door for the next person who sets their sights on becoming a champion. I spoke to Yuan-hao about his shocking win and what it takes to become a millionaire by playing video games.

Uma (Juri) vs. Chris Wong (Luke) - Grand Final - Capcom Cup X

Digital Trends: Where did you start in fighting games? What made you want to take competing seriously?

Yuan-hao: I seriously started playing fighting games with Street Fighter V, which was the first competitive game that made me feel the joy of overcoming difficulties. The first time I participated in an offline event was at the TWFighter Major Street Fighter V 2016 tournament. I was only a spectator in the audience, not competing, but I felt the atmosphere was fantastic. So, I decided to compete the following year. During my first tournament, I ranked 13th. The audience cheering for me motivated me to practice even harder.

Juri laughing with lolipop and phone in hand during her victory pose in Street Fighter 6.

Of all the regions and countries that competed in Capcom Cup, Taiwan wasn’t one that many saw in the conversation to be the home of the winner. Did being away from the more prolific countries hold any shortcomings?

Due to the excellent online environment of Street Fighter 6, Taiwan can practice with players from Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, and other places. This was not possible in Street Fighter V, so Taiwan does not have a disadvantage in terms of practice environment.

Did you ever look into obtaining a sponsorship before Capcom Cup?

Before Capcom Cup, I thought that achieving a good ranking might help me find sponsorship. However, winning the championship made me realize that perhaps I no longer needed to actively seek sponsorship. Sponsorship is also a form of work, a kind of pressure, and sometimes it can affect the player’s mental state.

What training regimen did you follow for such a large tournament?

My practice plan consists of the following: study characters and test strategies in training, online ranked matches, practice with other players, and watching videos of my and others’ gameplay. I also practice defense using Street Fighter 6’s CPU Level 8. When I feel my performance is off during training, I stop practicing. And confidence is crucial. I usually visualize myself winning to boost my confidence.

Uma holding the Capcom Cup X trophie.

How much time did you spend practicing a day?

Before a competition, I practiced for over 10 hours a day. Long hours of practice don’t necessarily put me in a bad mood, but not having time to play other games or pursue other hobbies can make me a bit unhappy. So, I don’t plan to do that as much in the future.

I didn’t want to work, so I won.

Have you done anything with your money that you can share?

Currently, I’ve given gifts to my family and bought some Hololive merchandise. Other than that, I don’t have plans to spend money on anything else. I’ll mostly use the money for low-risk investments. I plan to participate in EvoJP and other tournaments, but I’ll have to wait for the official announcement of the Season 2 competition dates.

What training advice can you give to players who want to win, but have to split their time between work and other arrangements?

In my case, I didn’t want to work, so I won. The disparity between tournament play and private practice is difficult to put into words, but generally, in Street Fighter 6 tournaments, anyone can sign up, so it’s worth participating. During the competition, everyone gets nervous and makes mistakes. It’s the same for everyone.

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DeAngelo Epps
Former Digital Trends Contributor
De'Angelo Epps is a gaming writer passionate about the culture, communities, and industry surrounding gaming. His work ranges…
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