With four wins out of four for ONE Championship, Aung La Nsang has earned his title shot the hard way, but it arrived through an unexpected route. The evening of Dec. 27 was like any other for the 31-year-old middleweight… until he received a surprise phone call.
“I was about to go teach kids class at Crazy 88 on a Tuesday night when I got the call to face Bigdash, but I was already in shape to go five, five-minute rounds,” he told MMAWeekly.com.
Mixed martial artists normally spend several months preparing for a fight, particularly a bout of this significance. But La Nsang feels that there are some advantages to having accepted a title shot at this Saturday’s ONE: Quest for Power show at such short notice.
“There are pros and cons to taking a fight at the last minute. I feel very healthy and strong for this fight and, unlike my last two fights, I have no injuries. I am ready do work.”
It was something of a surprise when La Nsang was initially overlooked for this title shot, which went to Marcin Prachnio. The Polish fighter had won three fights out of three for ONE Championship, but didn’t seem to have quite such a compelling case as the Burmese middleweight, who says he was disappointed not to get the initial call.
“Yeah (I was disappointed) a little bit, but I’m a patient man. My time was going to come.”
There will be question marks over La Nsang’s condition and cardio, but the Baltimore-based fighter has made the most of the few weeks he has had to prepare.
“I am confident that what I got done in the time available will be enough for me to win this title fight.”
La Nsang potentially has one advantage over the opponent he is slated to face at the Jakarta Convention Centre in that he fought three times in 2016. The Burmese fighter registered wins over Michal Pasternak, Aleksei Butorin, and Mohamed Ali during a calendar year in which Bigdash was inactive due to injury.
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The Russian has not stepped inside the cage since winning the belt in October of 2015, and La Nsang believes this could give him a crucial edge.
“I think that is definitely a factor in my favor,” he said.
La Nsang was born in Yangon and has fought on ONE Championship’s last two cards there. Asia’s biggest MMA promotion is heading to Myanmar again on July 14 and “The Burmese Python” would love nothing more than to be making a title defense that night.
“Fighting for the belt in Yangon is something I have dreamed of and it will happen. The support I get (from the fans in Myanmar) means a lot to me, my family, and my people. It gives a great push to better myself every day.”
Myanmar has been making international headlines for a lot of the wrong reasons recently, but sporting success on the global stage would give the country something to be proud of. La Nsang’s opportunity might have arrived at an unexpected moment, but he is determined to make the most of it by winning the ONE Championship middleweight belt.
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