Newly signed ONE FC prospect Martin Nguyen (3-0) will be seen as an underdog hereon in but don’t feel bad for counting him out. Such is the nature of the fight game, for people to doubt a fighter who’s only had three pro bouts and is making it to the big stage.
Martin Nguyen on a quest for MMA stardom
Nguyen was one of six fighters recruited by ONE FC over the course of the last few months or so, as part of the promotion’s efforts to bolster its roster.
And he was the least experienced of the lot. In fact, the Australian made his pro MMA debut in late 2012, so you could say he’s still relatively new to the fight game.
But does that mean Nguyen doesn’t stand a chance against the division’s elite? The 24-year-old doesn’t think so.
“I’m not really surprised that people don’t know of me. Or doubt me for that matter. But every fighter I’ve fought to date had come to make their stand – they were all undefeated,” Nguyen said. “I’m the sort of guy who takes all fights as they come. I don’t back down.”
The chance to compete in ONE FC came as a surprise to the Aussie fighter. He took on Luke Standing in a match-up with huge stakes at BRACE 24, where the winner was to be awarded both the promotion’s 145-lbs title, and an exclusive six-fight deal with ONE FC. It was Nguyen who triumphed on that night with a first round stoppage through his trademark ground-and-pound, prompting BRACE CEO Kya Pate to award the 24-year-old with the ONE FC contract thereafter.
“It caught me off-guard,” the BRACE champ admitted. “Truly. I wasn’t expecting it at all. But I wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip by. I’m glad I got my foot through the door of Asia’s biggest MMA promotion.”
If there’s one thing in Nguyen’s favor, it’s time and maturity. He’s only 24, which can only mean the sky’s the limit for the Australian.
And as he lobbies around quality training partners like Corey Nelson (14-4-1) at KMA Top Team, rest assured, you can bet he’s got his development aided.
“I train day-to-day with the best fighters (at KMA Top Team) in Australia. We have international-based fighters as well,” he said. “Having both caliber of experiences helps me become the best fighter within. I’m truly blessed and ready for anything thrown at me.”
While a promotional debut for Nguyen is expected in the coming months, for now, he’s still partially nursing a broken hand suffered at BRACE 24. According to the Australian, his coaches have stepped it up a notch in terms of his training intensity too.
But for a fighter of Nguyen’s facade and veneer, injuries aside, don’t expect to see the 24-year-old sitting on the couches, waiting for his shot. He’s relishing the opportunity of competing in one of the world’s biggest MMA organizations, and he wants to make the most of his time there.
“I’m so excited. I will train my life away to overcome every challenge thrown at me. ONE FC is the next major step of my MMA career. It’s my time to shine,” he said. “I’ll utilize my game to the fullest and punish every fighter when they make a mistake. Always fighting smart, keeping humble and professional.”
“The Situ-Asian” believes it’s a huge step up considering the stacked Featherweight talents ONE FC has at its disposal, but the Australian says ‘it’s now or never’. He mentioned that the fact he’s now a ONE FC fighter – well, that has already taken his career to the next level.
“Ruthless” Rob Lisita (13-5) is probably on the look-out for a big Featherweight contest, having earned three consecutive victories over top tier opponents in his previous outing. One fighter has taken the initiative to offer his services next.
”It would be an honor to fight Rob (Lisita). He is one of Australia’s best fighters and beating him will make my stance more noticeable in the 145-lbs division,” Nguyen said. “Who knows one day we might cross paths. Until then, I will let Mr. Matt Hume decide who I fight. Fight hard until your idols become your rivals.”