ONE Championship brings athletes from all across the globe onto their global stage, and athletes from North America are no exception. Atop that list are notable names and former world champions.
You already know about the likes of Eddie Alvarez and Demetrious Johnson. Two of the most decorated competitors in the sport’s history. Thus, we will not waste your time breaking them down to you, but give you new names to put on your watchlist for 2020.
Who are these talented martial artists? Well, let’s get right to it. Here are 10 North American mixed martial artists you have to watch in ONE Championship.
Jeff Chan (4-1)
Jeff Chan operates the popular YouTube and Instagram accounts known as MMAShredded, and his legion of followers were able to see him return to the MMA stage in February for his ONE Championship debut.
The Canadian, who now trains out of Tristar under Firas Zahabi, showed off his well-rounded game in a second-round submission victory over Radeem Rahman. The impressive showing made an instant impact in the bantamweight division.
Should Chan return to action with a similar performance later in 2020, he could find himself as one of the top contenders in the division, eyeing a title shot.
Aung La N Sang (26-10, 1 NC)
“The Burmese Python” may very well be the face of ONE Championship. Still, few realize the Myanmar superstar, who lives and trains in the United States, gained his American citizenship in 2015.
Aung La N Sang is a two-division champion as he holds the gold in the light heavyweight and middleweight divisions. In his last light heavyweight title defense, Aung La N Sang defeated ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera by TKO.
On a seven-fight win streak, “The Burmese Python” has finished each of his last five opponents by TKO. He returns to defend the ONE Middleweight World Title against rival Vitaly Bigdash on April 10 at ONE Infinity 1.
Thanh Le (11-2)
Fighting out of Louisiana, Thanh Le has seen his share of success. He competed on the 22nd season of The Ultimate Fighter in 2015, got a win on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender’s Series in 2017, and won the Interim LFA Lightweight Championship in 2018.
Now, he has exploded onto the ONE Championship scene in an emphatic way with three-consecutive knockout performances.
Following the electric start to his ONE career, Le is a title contender who will be eyeing Martin Nguyen’s featherweight strap.
Angela Lee (10-2)
If anyone would compete with Aung La N Sang for being the face of the organization, it would be American-Canadian “Unstoppable” Angela Lee.
She began her career on a streak of nine consecutive victories that netted her the ONE Atomweight World Championship. She became one of the most popular competitors on the roster. In November 2017, Lee was involved in a car accident after falling asleep at the wheel but escaped without significant injuries (h/t MMAJunkie.com).
Lee made a bid to become a two-division champion by moving up to challenge Xiong Jing Nan for the strawweight belt at ONE: A New Era. She was defeated by TKO in the fifth round after a strong start. Although Lee dropped her next bout to Michelle Nicolini, she exacted revenge on Xiong in their rematch for Lee’s atomweight title with a fifth-round submission at ONE: Century.
Lee has proven to be one of the most exciting athletes on the ONE roster, and she continues to get better. At just 23-years-old, Lee will continue to add to her skill set and showcase her dynamic talent as the leader of the atomweight division.
Christian Lee (13-3)
Angela is not the only Lee worth keeping tabs on in ONE Championship. Her younger brother Christian has developed into a top-tier athlete and shocked the world with a title-winning performance in 2019.
“The Warrior” turned pro in December of 2015 at ONE: Spirit of Champions and began his career on a 5-0 run. After back-to-back losses in May and September of 2018, Lee finished Kazuki Tokudome by TKO in November of 2018, which would begin his current string of victories.
After avenging a defeat to Edward Kelly, Lee was granted a shot at the ONE Lightweight World Championship. In a stunning upset, the American-Canadian defeated veteran Shinya Aoki by TKO. Five months later, on short notice, Lee won the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix by defeating Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev.
Like his sister, Lee is a ONE World Champion at a very young age. The 21-year-old is still growing and developing as a martial artist, which means you see a brand new version each time he competes.
James Nakashima (12-0)
Hailing from Illinois and competing out of the MMA Lab, James Nakashima is someone worth knowing.
Nakashima made his organizational debut in 2018 and has reeled off three wins in the company. His most recent was the most impressive as Nakashima upended longtime Japanese standout Yushin Okami by unanimous decision.
The welterweight division is on notice that Nakashima is making his way up the ranks as a serious threat to the title in 2020.
Bi Nguyen (5-5)
Bi “Killer Bee” Nguyen sits with a .500 record, but the 30-year-old is still growing as an athlete and has shown quality skills against top competition. In her last outing, Nguyen pushed Stamp Fairtex through all three rounds at ONE: Masters of Fate.
If Nguyen seems familiar, it may be because she was a cast member on the hit CBS reality show Survivor during their David vs. Goliath season. She left the game due to an MCL injury fearing its impact on her career (h/t Dalton Ross of EW.com).
A true David in life, Nguyen continues to train to slay all the Goliaths in her path.
Colbey Northcutt (1-1)
“Super” Sage Northcutt’s sister has all the skills to be a force in the ONE Championship flyweight division. After more than a two-year layoff since her professional debut, Colbey Northcutt returned with a clinical decision victory against Putri Padmi at ONE: Edge of Greatness.
Northcutt landed significant strikes in the bout with the possibility to finish with higher output. Instead, she chose to be pragmatic and skillful. As the Texan continues to work on her all-around game, she will become a threat to every flyweight. Northcutt’s length and striking acumen stand tall amongst her opposition.
While other flyweights may be more well-rounded, it will be fascinating to watch Northcutt develop from bout to bout. She has a high ceiling as a mixed martial artist.
Garry Tonon (5-0)
One of the planet’s preeminent grapplers made his transition to mixed martial arts in 2018, and he did so in stellar fashion. Garry Tonon dominated Richard Corminal at ONE: Iron Will and finished with a second-round TKO in his debut performance.
Since then, Tonon has finished four more opponents, with three coming by way of submission.
Tonon is outspoken on social media, and he is eyeing a shot at the ONE Featherweight World Championship and Martin Nguyen. Although his career is young, the credentials of Tonon put him at the front of the line. Tonon is must-see each time he competes regardless of where he is on the card, but now with a possible title tilt in the future, he cements his status as a can’t miss star.
Troy Worthen (7-0)
The Floridian has moved to Singapore to train at Evolve MMA, and the hard work has been paying off as Troy Worthen sits at 7-0 in his young professional career.
Worthen last competed in February against ever tough Mark Fairtex Abelardo at ONE: King of the Jungle. It was a solid performance that led to a unanimous decision victory.
“Pretty Boy” has showcased solid all-around skills, but his power strikes will put you on the edge of your seat. He is a threat to finish by KO at any moment of the bout. At 3-0 in the organization, Worthen is quickly making himself a major factor in the bantamweight division.