It was an ambitious goal for Martin Nguyen. Already holding the belts for the featherweight and lightweight divisions of ONE Championship, the Vietnamese-Australian fighter made an attempt to earn his third championship title by challenging reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes.
But Fernandes did not allow that to happen. He successfully defended his title at “ONE: Iron Will” at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand on March 24, 2018.
After five five-minute rounds, the bantamweight bout between Fernandes and Nguyen was left in the hands of the judges. The verdict was a split decision in favor of the reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion.
This made Fernandes still the longest running ONE Championship titleholder. Among all the reigning champions of the promotion, he has the most defenses.
From 2014 to 2017, Fernandes successfully defended his title from Masakatsu Ueda, Dae Hwan Kim, Toni Tauru, Kevin Belingon, Reece McLaren and Andrew Leone. Nguyen was the seventh unsuccessful challenger faced by Fernandes as the reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion.
After defeating Nguyen at “ONE: Iron Will,” Fernandes now has 22 wins and 3 losses. The three opponents he failed to defeat were Urijah Faber, Norifumi Yamamoto and Hiroyuki Takaya.
Also, Fernandes became the second fighter to defeat Nguyen. The first one was Marat Gafurov, who submitted the Vietnamese-Australian fighter via rear-naked choke at “ONE: Odyssey of Champions” on September 27, 2015.
But on August 18, 2017, Nguyen was able to redeem himself in the rematch with Gafurov. The former knocked out the latter at “ONE: Quest for Greatness.”
It was the win at “ONE: Quest for Greatness” that gave Nguyen his first belt, the one as ONE Featherweight World Champion. On November 10, 2017, he became the first ever two-division world champion of ONE Championship earning the ONE Lightweight World Champion belt from a victory over Eduard “Landslide” Folayang.
Meanwhile, here is a clip featuring Fernandes talking about his legacy: