In 2017, Martin Nguyen became ONE Championship’s first ever two-division champion by dethroning the promotion’s Featherweight World Champion Marat Gafurov of Russia and Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang of the Philippines. As if this feat was not enough, Nguyen is soon entering the cage again in an attempt to become the promotion’s first ever three-division champion.
On March 24, 2018, Nguyen will challenge ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes of Brazil. They will headline “ONE: Iron Will” at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
Nguyen wants to determine if he is within the top-caliber rank in the sport. For him, facing Fernandes in a scheduled five-round bantamweight title encounter will serve as the standard of measure.
“He is a legend,” Nguyen said of Fernandes. “How I see it is he is at the top of the mountain. He is at the pinnacle of his career, and is one of the top bantamweight athletes in the world. I only want to test myself against the best.”
“Although I faced Eduard (Folayang) and won the second world title, I have to face the best now,” Nguyen further explained. “I see Bibiano (Fernandes) at the top of the mountain, and I am the underdog, like in every match. I am the lone wolf, and it is the lone wolf who is always hungrier, so I want to get to the top of the mountain and take him out.”
Fernandes has not lost a match in seven years and is currently riding high on an astonishing 13-bout winning streak with victories over elite athletes such as Reece McLaren, Kevin Belingon and Dae Hwan Kim. Nguyen enlisted McLaren’s help as his sparring partner in preparation for “ONE: Iron Will.”
Here is a short clip featuring Nguyen: