Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, 29, of Australia and Vietnam and Conor “The Notorious” McGregor, 30, of Ireland have one thing in common. They are the first ever two-division world champions of their respective promotions.
McGregor became the UFC Featherweight Champion on December 12, 2015 by defeating Jose Aldo, 31, of Brazil at “UFC 194.” Still reigning as the UFC Featherweight Champion, McGregor became also the UFC Lightweight Champion on November 12, 2016 by defeating Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez, 34, of the United States at “UFC 205.”
On August 18, 2017, Nguyen became the ONE Featherweight World Champion by dethroning Marat “Cobra” Gafurov at “ONE: Quest for Greatness.” Still reigning as the ONE Featherweight World Champion, Nguyen became the ONE Lightweight World Champion on November 10, 2017 by dethroning Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, 34, of the Philippines at “ONE: Legends of the World.”
Nguyen and McGregor are no longer the only world champions to have held two titles simultaneously. “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang, 33, of Myanmar is the reigning champion in both middleweight and light heavyweight divisions of ONE Championship while Daniel Cormier, 39, of the U.S. is the reigning champion of the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions of the UFC.
Aside from being the inaugural champions holding two titles simultaneously, Nguyen and McGregor seem to have no other common denominators as fighters and as individuals. In the first place, McGregor has been stripped of his two UFC titles while Nguyen is still reigning as the ONE Featherweight and Lightweight World Champion.
Moreover, Nguyen is competing again for his third title after his failed first attempt. On July 27, 2018, he and Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, 30, of the Philippines will compete for the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion title at “ONE: Reign of Kings” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
Nguyen and Belingon had their face-off at the “ONE: Reign of Kings” press conference at the City of Dreams Manila in Paranaque City, Metro Manila. During the event, I asked Nguyen about the comparison to McGregor and he jokingly said, “I’m hurt, man.”
“I’m nothing like that guy,” Nguyen said of McGregor. On a serious note, the Vietnamese-Australian mixed martial artist pointed out that he respects his opponents.
“I give my opponents a full amount of respect and they show me the same thing, as well,” Nguyen said. Here is my full interview with him: