Martin Nguyen Promises To Make Thanh Le Eat His Words
The action in ONE Championship continues on October 30th in Singapore with ONE: Inside The Matrix. The mega event will feature four world title bouts. Among them will be Martin Nguyen defending his ONE featherweight title against Thanh Le.
“Falling Into Place”
A title fight between the two had already been confirmed but was scrapped earlier this year due to the coronavirus. Speaking exclusively to Asian Persuasion MMA, Nguyen said he was glad to finally be able to return to the ONE Circle.
“I’m very excited,” said Nguyen. “Everything’s falling into place and the stars are slowly aligning. Fight night, fingers crossed, I get there.”
Staying On The Path
Nguyen has actually missed out on two fights that never came to fruition, since his last fight. The first fight was supposed to be against lightweight champion Christian Lee, and the second was his long overdue bout with Le. While the bouts never materialised, he was able to get two extra training camps.
“As long as I maintain and stay on the path, I’m just getting better and better,” Nguyen said. “And that’s what I do. Two fight camps down, I feel like if I had fought that time, it would’ve been much better. But I took the positives of everything that I learned and I did get better, and this camp was one of the best camps I ever had. I feel strong, fast, fit.”
“I Sacrificed So Much”
While Le has already fought once this year, picking up a knockout over Ryogo Takahashi at ONE: A New Tomorrow, Nguyen hasn’t fought since last August, when he defended his title against Koyomi Matushima at ONE: Dawn Of Heroes. Still, ahead of his fight, the Vietnamese-Australian feels like he will have the advantage.
“Whoever’s my next opponent, they’re gonna be in trouble,” said Nguyen. “I train hard, I sacrificed so much. I leave my family for two months.”
Defending The Crown
Like Nguyen, Le is a formidable striker who is capable of going for the knockout at any moment. But ‘The Situ-Asian’ thinks the Vietnamese-American is no different from any of the other fighters he’s faced.
“He’s a good opponent,” Nguyen said. “Just like every other opponent I’ve faced. Everyone that I face is championship-worthy and has championship credentials. He’s just another person on my list and I have to clear this list.
“I put every single one of my opponents at the highest level. This is the next guy that could be the next big thing or the next champion. It’s up to me to defend my crown, defend my throne.”
“The Way I Fight Brings The Fans In”
Among the four title fights on the card, Nguyen and Le’s featherweight title showdown is perhaps one of the most anticipated of the year. After all, their fight was long in the making and it will most likely see two elite strikers trade leather. The 31 year old is confident however that his fighting style alone will be enough to draw in viewers.
“I feel like I’ve been doing this for a long time,” said Nguyen. “I feel that my fighting style and the way I fight brings the fans in. Every fight that I have is an exciting fight. I’ve only had one fault in my sixteen-fight career and I still won it. In saying that, there were moments in it that were exciting. That bout, we’re gonna run it back one day.”
Fighting For His Family
Although he lives in Australia, Nguyen does his training camps at Sanford MMA in the United States. During the global pandemic, gyms were closed and he was forced to stay in his home country. But with the easing of travel restrictions, he is finally back in the renowned gym. Even while training in the US, he reminds himself what he does is for his family.
“It’s a blessing,” Nguyen said. “Sometimes I gotta pinch myself. Am I really here in Florida? Am I really with Aung La [Nsang]? Driving in the car next to him, I really have to pinch myself. Then I have to remind myself, ‘What’s your purpose?’ And my purpose is my family. I’m doing everything for my family.
“When it comes to my next opponent, he’s willing to take food from their mouths. That’s how I see it. And I don’t like that, and I’m going to do something about that. Thanh Le is that next guy and this is what’s going to happen to him.”
“Do My Job”
ONE: Inside The Matrix will be the first ONE event, post-coronavirus, to host a crowd. Albeit, a small one. It was announced that ONE Championship would be selling ‘Superfan’ ticket packages to 250 people. Nguyen won’t let the decreased crowd size won’t factor into his performance.
“Doesn’t make a difference,” said Nguyen. “I’m gonna be there, I’m gonna do my job and I’m gonna go home ‘And still’.”
Doing What It Takes
Le previously said he would frustrate Nguyen enough to turn him into a grappler, which will prove to be his downfall. However, the defending champion says there’s a reason their sport is called mixed martial arts.
“It’s mixed martial arts,” Nguyen said. “I can come out and I can take him down straight off the bat. He doesn’t have to hit me. It’s mixed martial arts; I’ll just do whatever I have to do to get my hand raised.
“By any means possible. If the opportunity is there, then I’ll take it with two hands. But I’ll make him eat his words.”
Who will walk out as ONE featherweight champion when Martin Nguyen defends his title against Thanh Le at ONE: Inside The Matrix?