Aung La Nsang Promises To Make Reinier De Ridder Remember Him

ONE Championship continues the action in Singapore with ONE: Inside The Matrix on October 30th. In a fight card with four title fights, the ONE middleweight title is also on the line. Returning to the ONE Circle is two-division world champion Aung La Nsang, who will be defending the ONE middleweight title against Reinier de Ridder.

“I’m Super Excited”

It has been one year since Aung La last competed, successfully defending the ONE light heavyweight title against Brandon Vera at ONE: Century, securing a second-round TKO. In an exclusive interview with Asian Persuasion MMA, ‘The Burmese Python’ said he was excited to be able to return to action.

“I’m super excited,” said Aung La. “Been a long time now, been a year since I competed. Just been training and grinding so I’m excited to show what I’ve been working on.”

Hungry For Competition

With a year in between fights, Aung La has gotten so much work into his training. He has strengthened areas which needed improvement and is confident that he will finish his opponent.

“I’m going to finish him,” Aung La said. “I’m so hungry to compete. During the COVID, I’ve been working on a lot of my [submission] holds and my strength as well. So you’ll see a better version of myself.”

“Being The Best Version Of Myself”

Initially, Aung La was scheduled to defend his middleweight title against Vitaly Bigdash back in May but the coronavirus forced ONE Championship to cease all activities. Five months later, he now faces de Ridder. This however, changes absolutely nothing for the 35 year.

“I just work on being a better mixed martial artist, being a competitor myself,” said Aung La. “I don’t work on this opponent, on that opponent. I work on being the best version of myself.”

Size Doesn’t Matter

Aung La will be going up against an undefeated opponent in de Ridder. ‘The Dutch Knight’ is also a tall and rangy Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist. He is reportedly also one of ‘The Burmese Python’s’ tallest opponents to date. However, the defending champion doesn’t see that as an issue.

“He’s six-four,” Aung La said. “He said he’s taller than my last opponent. I don’t know how he got that math. It doesn’t matter. I’m ten pounds lighter than I was last fight. I feel the best I have than in the last five years. He’s going to see that his size is not going to be a problem for me at all.”

“It’s Great That He’s Confident”

While de Ridder is undefeated in 12 fights, Aung La has recorded six finishes in his last six fights, and believes it’s normal for ‘his opponent to feel extremely confident ahead of their fight. He also thinks it will help make an entertaining fight. But unlike the old saying, confidence may not always be key when they finally face off.

“If you’re undefeated at 12-0, you’re gonna be very confident,” said Aung La. “If you haven’t felt defeat, you’re gonna be very confident. And confidence is great. But remember, confidence doesn’t always win you the fight.

“My track record against undefeated fighters is pretty good. So as far as confidence goes, it’s good to be confident. I hope he’s confident. I don’t want to fight a guy that’s not confident. I want to have a good battle. I want to have a good, competitive fight. So it’s great that he’s confident.”

Coach Henri Hooft

Training at Sanford MMA, Aung La will have coach Henri Hooft in his corner. Like de Ridder, Hooft is a Dutchman and is supposedly of the same stature as him, and is also a veteran of the fight game.

“He’s a big plus,” Aung La said. “And the fact that him and Reinier are supposedly the same height helps out a lot. It lets me see what openings I have. The thing with Henri Hooft is that he himself has over a hundred fights so he knows what it feels like to be in there. A lot of coaches and trainers don’t know that. But he’s been in there, battle-tested. So he knows what works. He knows what the person is capable of.”

“I’ll Be Fine Anywhere”

In the months leading up to their fight, de Ridder has made several bold predictions. Most of these involve him beating Aung La via submission. The champion finds these predictions rather amusing.

“He said I won’t last ten seconds with him on the ground,” said Aung La. “I don’t get why he would make a comment like that. He’s confident in what he has so that’s great. I want to fight somebody that’s confident and I want to fight somebody that comes out there to fight.

“I train with world champions in jiu-jitsu as well. They don’t submit me in ten seconds. I’ll be fine on the ground. I’ll be fine anywhere with him.”

Underestimating The Champion

Aung La has been known to be a versatile, well-rounded fighter. He possesses both incredible knockout power and slick submission skills. ‘The Burmese Python’ thinks his opponent is underestimating what he’s capable of in the ONE Circle.

“I started doing jiu-jitsu way before him,” Aung La said. “I probably started doing jiu-jitsu when he was like eight or nine years old.”

“I’m Gonna Make Him Remember Me”

With de Ridder predicting to submit him, Aung La has also promised a finish against him. In fact, he wants to do that and more.

“I’m gonna finish him,” Aung La said. “I’m gonna finish him and I’m gonna make him remember me.”

Don’t Live In Fear

Having contracted the coronavirus himself, Aung La has faced a certain degree of adversity during the global pandemic. But through it all, he has been able to glean out some new lessons.

“The coronavirus brings a lot of fear in a lot of people’s minds,” said Aung La. “The most important thing that I learned this year is not to live in fear. My five-month-old daughter had it. She got over it, we’ll get over it.

“I’m excited to bring some positivity and excitement to the world during this time. It’s an honour for me. I’m gonna do everything that I can to put on a great show for everybody.”

Fighting Without A Crowd

Of course, with the protocols in place, this will be Aung La’s first time fighting without a massive crowd before him. The champion says this won’t be any different from his other fights.

“It doesn’t matter,” Aung La said, “I’ve been cornering a lot of teammates with no fans in the crowd. It’s not gonna make a difference for me at all.”

Will Aung La Nsang still walk out as the ONE middleweight champion after he faces Reinier de Ridder at ONE: Inside The Matrix?

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