Aung La Nsang: 2019 Was For My Legacy But 2020 Is Going To Be Bigger
2019 has been a hugely successful year for ONE Championship, as they held 22 events across the world’s largest continent. Capped off with ONE: A New Era last March and ONE: Century in October, which paved the way to a record-breaking number of views across all social media platforms. A significant part of the success of the two events in Tokyo, can be attributed to Myanmar superstar Aung La Nsang, who not only competed on both cards but successfully won his bouts, fending off the challenges of Ken Hasegawa and Brandon Vera.
“It was a great year for me. I was very happy that it went the way it did. Fighting on two massive cards this year was the best thing that could have happened to me being signed to ONE Championship. It’s the two biggest events [in history], and being the main event, I was very fortunate,” Aung La told ONE Championship.
“When I go out there and perform, I can’t let it get to my head. That was one thing that was very important to me — knowing they were such monumental events, I had to make sure I didn’t let it become too big of a deal in my head,” he continued.
The ‘Burmese Phyton’ reminisced how significant his match Hasegawa was, in particular beating him in front of the Japanese fans at Ryogoku Kokugikan Arena.
“That Ken Hasegawa fight was very big for me because, prior to that, most of my fights had been in Myanmar, so not as many people get to watch or know about it. But that ONE Championship event in Japan was monumental for them. It was a new era for them.
“For me, to put on a good performance was very, very important. There’s no way he is going to want to fight me again. That’s what I wanted to do. If I ever have a rematch with Brandon Vera, that’s what I want to do as well.”
As for the Brandon Vera contest, it was a dream come true to for Nsang to fare against one if his idols. And then to actually beat him in the biggest event of the promotion’s history was ‘something very personal’ for Aung La.
“That fight was very big. On a personal level, I was a big fan of Brandon Vera. I’ve been rooting for him since when I was in college. When I was in college, I watched him knock out Justin Eilers and later, I watched him just tear through the heavyweight division when he first came into ONE Championship,” Aung La revealed.
“To be able to fight the man that I looked up to as a fan, it’s a pretty amazing thing. To be in the same cage, standing across from him, that was something that was very personal for me. For my career, it puts me on notice as far as beating the heavyweight champion and it opens doors for me. A lot of opportunities for me come from that win.”
The triumph over Vera though came with a price, as the ONE two division champion injured his thumb during the match, which later required surgery. Aung La however, doesn’t want it to overshadow the achievement.
“It would have been better if I didn’t hurt my hand, but I’m pretty happy with the performance. It went according to plan. We prepared well for him and the fight went well. You can’t complain about that. It was as we prepared for, so it was very nice.”
Altogether, the Burmese icon pondered on the big boost that 2019 made for his professional career as a martial artist. Furthermore, he optimistically looks forward to a better and brighter 2020 ahead of him.
“This year was big for my legacy. It’s a stamp. It lets me know that I beat the heavyweight champion. I am the current light heavyweight champion and the middleweight champion, and I defended both belts as well.
“For my legacy, it’s great. But you know how last year I said 2019 is going to be better? The reason I could say that was because of who I train with and what my circumstances were. I knew I had things I was working towards and working on to let me know that 2019 was going to be better. I can say 2020 is going to be big as well. There are things I’m doing right now that make me believe 2020 is going to be very big.”
Earlier this month, we spoke to Aung La Nsang about when he plans to return to the ONE Circle. You can watch that interview here.