By: Nick Portella
What’s good fight fans? Today I got the chance to catch up with One Championships new middleweight champion Aung La Nsang. Aung has a pro-MMA record of 20-10 and was crowned the champion June 30 by defeating Vitaly Bigdash via decision at One Championship: Light of a Nation. Let’s have a seat with Aung and ask some questions.
Nick: What does it mean (to you) to be a fighter?
Aung: There are a lot of perceptions to a fighter. Sometimes, it’s good. On the other hand, it’s negative. But I choose to be on the bright side of it. Martial arts isn’t just about fighting. It’s about giving back to the world that has given you life. I’m doing this for my people, and when I fight for my people, nothing is ever difficult.
As a fighter, I want to use the platform that I am standing on to inspire people. Life isn’t just about what you achieve, it’s also what you inspire others to achieve. While it is very important to work on your own personal development, there are many underlying intangibles within the realm of success that extend far beyond your individual success.
I hope to be an inspiration to the people of Myanmar. This is for them. It feels like I am very blessed and hopefully, I can bring blessings to other people as well.
Nick: What would you say is your best attribute as a fighter?
Aung: I am always well-regarded for my constricting style of fighting as eleven of my twenty professional wins have come by way of submission. The grappling department was always my comfort zone. But I proved in my rematch with Bigdash that I can keep up with the best strikers out there.
Nick: Your nickname is The Burmese Python. Who gave you that name and why?
Aung: It’s kind of sad because a lot of people don’t know where Myanmar is. My nickname actually came from a promoter in the mid-west, he asked where I was from and I said, ‘I’m from Myanmar’ he was like ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. Where is that country?’ I said, ‘Oh, you know, like where the Burmese pythons are from’ Then he gave me that nickname, Burmese Python, and it stuck.
Nick: June 30 you entered the cage against undefeated middleweight champion Vitaly Bigdash. You had faced Vitaly five months ago losing via decision. How many changes did you make during this training camp?
Aung: I felt good. I really felt great all throughout the camp. I had no injuries for this rematch. My loss to Bigdash in our first meeting produced a very positive outlook. It made me more professional. I tapped the services of a professional dietician, and it really opened my mind to the level that I needed to be. I took it as a positive lesson. I am actually happy that I lost the first time around. It just let me be the way I needed to be for the rematch.
I had to fight on short notice in the first bout and I wasn’t at my best. This time, I had a better preparation and full training camp.
Nick: Prior to entering the cage did you believe that this would turn into another war that was decided via decision?
Aung: I already knew that it was going to be an epic battle of attrition. He is incredibly strong, but I felt at peace because I felt confident and comfortable. In my mind, I could not let my people down. I’m not intelligent, I’m not good, and I’m not fast. With supportive countrymen behind me, I have courage, I have respect, and I have what it needs to win a world title.
Nick: Now that you have been crowned the champ. Can your fans expect to see you in the cage again this year?
Aung: I hope so. I’m maturing as a fighter, but I still have so much to learn. That’s the exciting part. I feel like I’m not even close to my peak or my potential yet. I would love to test my skills against the best fighters in the world.
A lot of fighters lose their edge when they start to think that it’s easy being a champion. Keeping the belt is a lot harder than winning it the first time around. I still have much to do in the sport of mixed martial arts and I’m going to kick off the next chapter of my career against one of the top contenders.
I will never quit, I will keep fighting and I will take on any challenge. I am willing to fight anyone and defend this belt. I am ready.
Nick: Was there any extra pressure or excitement leading up to this rematch?
Aung: There are no distractions. Zero. I just love the support from everybody. It was a home-crowd advantage for me. Competing in Yangon in front of all my fans is such an honor.
Nick: Aung have you submitted to the takeover?
Aung: This is Aung La Nsang and I have submitted to the takeover.
Aung: Myanmar is my mother. It’s the country that made me who I am today. I will try my best to be a positive role model to everyone. There is no greater feeling than performing for all of my people. I am truly honored for this opportunity.
I have to thank Aung for taking some time to speak with me. I am sure he is still enjoying his newly fought for championship status. Signing off for TheMMATakeOver.com this is Nick Portella. @NickPortellaMMA