Aung La Nsang Is Ramping Up His Training Ahead Of Reinier De Ridder Bout
Aung La Nsang is set to defend his ONE middleweight championship for a fourth time next month, where his opponent will be Reinier de Ridder. ‘The Burmese Python’ is coming off a successful defence of his ONE light heavyweight title against Brandon Vera a year ago at ONE: Century, where he won by TKO.
Going into their fight, de Ridder has predicted a submission victory over the defending champion, believing it will be a tough ask to knock out his opponent. In an interview with SCMP MMA‘s Nick Atkin, Aung La said that the unbeaten Dutchman was about to see the competition go up a level in their title fight.
“I’m Just A Different Animal”
“Yeah, I mean he’s right – he’s not gonna knock me out,” Aung La said. “His strong suit is BJJ, so I’m doing a lot of preparation for that as well.
“Certain opponents I thought were gonna give him trouble in ONE Championship but he finds certain ways to win. He fought Gilberto Galvao, a black belt, I thought he had a tough test at hand but he knocked the guy out. Leandro Ataides, another BJJ black belt … he finds ways to win. You gotta respect that. He’s undefeated, he’s confident. But I’m just a different animal.”
Training With Southpaws
Regardless, the two-division ONE world champion isn’t taking his opponent lightly. At Sanford MMA, Aung La has been training with some notable names, including UFC middleweight Derek Brunson.
“We have some amazing guys,” Aung La said. “One of them just today Derek Brunson came down from his house in North Carolina. They’re all southpaws, my opponent is also a southpaw so they’re great training partners. And with Derek he’s mimicking the takedowns for me, so it’s been great.”
“I’m Getting Ready”
Although ONE Championship’s CEO Chatri Sityodtong recently revealed that Aung La would will defend his middleweight title against de Ridder next month, the promotion is yet to confirm the exact date and venue.
“You’re gonna have to wait for the boss to announce it,” said the 35-year-old champion. “I just know I’ve signed like Chatri said already, to compete against Reinier.
“I can’t tell you when exactly, but they’re gonna make that announcement and I’m super excited for it. But as you can see, I’m ramping up training and I’m getting ready.”
With a unanimous decision victory over Leandro Ataides at ONE: Warrior’s Code this past February, de Ridder was able to secure a title shot. In the meantime Aung La has been training with with his Sanford MMA teammates, ONE featherweight champion Martin Nguyen and Tial Thang.
“Tial is training here with me, Martin as well, you should see us back in action in a couple of months,” said Aung La. “And we’re training hard. We’re working to become better versions of ourselves, I can promise you. It’s been a year for me. I’ve been developing my game better, for sure. You will see a big difference.”
“We’re All Back To Normal”
Aung La is also looking to bounce back after testing positive for COVID-19 back in July. The champion has since made a recovery.
“For sure, the first two weeks was rough coming back from it,” Aung La said. “Just because your cardio is not the same any more because it went through a lot of damage because of the virus.
“But we recovered, the whole family recovered, even my five-month-old daughter had it and she’s well. You can’t say the same for everybody else that had corona, but with our family we’re all back to normal.”
Watching The Bangkok Shows
But Aung La has kept himself up to date in the mixed martial arts circuit, including ONE Championship’s six local events held in Bangkok over the last two months.
“I’ve been watching them, keeping an eye on them,” Aung La stated. “It’s nice that a few of our athletes can compete and make a living for themselves. A lot of the best Muay Thai and striking competitors are from that country, so the shows are nice.
“I just wish I could have been on it.”
Will Aung La Nsang successfully retain his ONE middleweight championship against Reinier de Ridder?