Tyson Nam Eyeing UFC or Asian MMA Organization After Fight at X1 World Events MMA in Hawaii

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Tyson Nam (16-9-1) is preparing to get back in the win column on Saturday. He fights Donald Gonzalez (5-8) in a 130-lb. catchweight bout at X1 World Events MMA in his backyard of Honolulu.

Nam expects the fight to play out as a striking battle. He noted Gonzalez’s kickboxing style as what he feels his opponent’s game plan will be. More than half of Nam’s professional wins have come via T/KO.

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“If he thinks he’s going to out-strike me, he’s got another thing coming to him,” Nam told MMASucka. “If he wants to switch it up and do some grappling, I have a very underrated grappling game. All the way around, I’m a better fighter than Donald. He’s going to be another notch on top of my belt come Saturday night.”

Both Nam and Gonzalez are from Hawaii, but in addition to Nam having the bigger name, the fight will also be taking place on Nam’s home island of Oahu.

“I’m back out here in Hawaii fighting where it all started for me,” Nam said. “I’m happy to put on a great showing for my family, friends and my fans, live.”

Nam, 35, is 13 years into his professional career. He holds knockout wins over former Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas and former UFC No. 1 flyweight contender Ali Bagautinov. Despite these successes, Nam has yet to fight in the UFC or any other current top organization. Nam says the UFC wanted to pick him up after each of those two wins, but contract disputes prevented it both times.

However, even at 35, Nam feels he’s entering the prime of his career. Since moving back to Hawaii from Portland, OR, he says he’s felt stronger and faster.

“Maybe it was just a change of weather for me,” he said. “Maybe I just don’t perform or learn very well when it’s cold and rainy. I think I just needed a little bit of heat and sunshine to open up my brain and get my body back to how it naturally is again.”

Before he calls it a career, Nam said he wants at least one fight in the UFC. But the UFC flyweight division appears to be in limbo, its future up in the air. And Nam does his best work at 125 lbs.

“That is the division I really do thrive in,” Nam said. “Even when I do fight with Russians who have pretty much been wrestling before they could even walk, they can’t take me down. I feel like I’m the hardest hitter in the flyweight division in the entire world. I touch people and they go to sleep.”

Nam is equally intrigued in fighting for an Asia-based promotion, where lighter weight classes have thrived. He’s narrowed it down to RIZIN or ONE Championship.

“Japan seems to be having it going on over there,” he said. “That would be my next check on top of my bucket list in doing this sport.”

Two of flyweight’s all-time greats, Demetrious Johnson and Kyoji Horiguchi, have already made the transition to ONE and RIZIN, respectively. Nam said he would ideally like to fight both.

“Both of them fought Ali Bagautinov, which they won a decision against him,” Nam said. “I knocked out Ali Bagautinov. I knock both of them out. So, if given the chance, whoever wants to step up to the plate, I’ll knock both of them out.”

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Michael is a big MMA fan who enjoys interviewing the sport's athletes, writing about the sport, and just discussing it. He earned his Master's in Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and his B.A. in Journalism at Stony Brook University. He also enjoys hockey, football and baseball. Feel free to hit him up if you want to discuss MMA, or any other sport!

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