Aung La Nsang On Competing In His Home Country: It’s Epic
Myanmar’s Aung La Nsang currently resides in Florida, where he trains at Sanford MMA along side killers such as Kamaru Usman, Robbie Lawler and his good friend Martin Nguyen, under the watchful eye of Coach Henri Hooft.
The ONE middleweight and light heavyweight champion is worshiped in his home country. So much so that Myanmar built a statue of Aung La in 2018. Speaking to MMA Junkie, the 34-year-old opened up on the pressure of competing in Yangon, the capital of his home country, where he is a true hero and superstar.
“It’s crazy, man. You’ve really gotta be mentally strong for that,” he said. “When you’re in your locker room people want to take pictures with you – even the security people want to take pictures with you! Everybody expects you to win, everybody wants you to win. Even the medical staff wants you to win – all these Burmese medical staff, all the staff there, everybody at the show wants you to win, so it’s a lot of pressure.”
Aung La has never lost in Yangon, where he has competed seven times and experienced the best moments of his career, including capturing both ONE world titles in two weight divisions. The atmosphere that 10,000 ardent fans make in the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium during his walkout is nothing less than movie-like, according to the champion.
“It is crazy – it’s like a scene from Mad Max,” Aung La chuckled. “When all the people are in the arena, everybody wants you to win, they’re cheering, they’ve got those glow sticks and they’re going crazy – it’s pretty epic. The seats are filled from the bottom to the top. Every seat is filled. It’s filled to the brim and it’s really crazy and loud. But you have to be able to go in there and perform.”
Beside making significant technical improvements over time, ‘The Burmese Python’ stressed the importance of mental factors that enable him to perform to the best of his abilities.
“You’ve got to be really mentally strong and mentally focused to be able to be able to perform to the best of your ability. For me, I’ve had a lot of previous losses and I’ve worked with a sports psychologist, and it’s really helped me out to be able to detach myself from that – everybody’s expectation – and then just going out, performing and doing my best.”
Aung La Nsang is scheduled to defend his ONE middleweight title against Vitaly Bigdash, in a trilogy bout on May 29th at ONE: Infinity 1. Although with the current coronavirus pandemic situation, this could change.