ONE Championship superstar Aung La N Sang was on top of the world in 2020. He had both the middleweight and light heavyweight world titles in his possession and hadn’t tasted defeat in five years.
But the Myanmar superstar’s luck quickly changed when he met Reinier de Ridder. In back-to-back matches, the then-unbeaten Dutchman snatched away both of his crowns, leaving N Sang shellshocked and unsure of his next move.
Fast-forward to 2023, and “The Burmese Python” is once again on the warpath in the middleweight division.
After putting together back-to-back first-round victories – against Yushin Okami and Gilberto Galvao – he now finds himself on the brink of a shot at divisional gold once again.
N Sang’s next stop on his path back to the top comes in the form of Chinese phenom Fan Rong, who he meets at ONE’s inaugural U.S. show, ONE Fight Night 10: Johnson vs. Moraes III, on Saturday, May 6.
The ONE veteran was initially due to face Fan in January, but the bout had to be for rescheduled ONE’s gigantic U.S. debut next week.
With mere days to go until the showdown, N Sang’s impressive run of form has bolstered his confidence. The 37-year-old is aware of the ramifications it could have – as well as the significance of appearing on such a historic card.
“I just take it as it is. I mean, I don’t need extra motivation. I have motivation in me already,” he said.
“There’s a reason why I fight. And it’s bigger than Fan Rong. It’s bigger than me. I don’t need extra motivation. I’m just going to go out there.
“Sometimes, the outcomes are not good. But it is what it is. For me, it doesn’t matter. Fan Rong, we’re scheduled again. I am motivated to put on a good show against him. It’s nothing personal, for sure.”
Should he extend his winning streak to three inside the Circle, “The Burmese Python” may be on course for one of the most emphatic comeback stories ever seen in ONE Championship.
And while some have written him off and slotted him into the role of gatekeeper in ONE’s middleweight division, he doesn’t necessarily see it as a bad thing.
If N Sang is the fighter that sets apart the good from the great in the stacked middleweight class, he’s ready to take that role – as long as it gets him where he wants to go.
“I want to keep the gate before I storm back into my castle,” the 37-year-old said.
“II want to beat everybody, and I want to get my title back.
“Being a gatekeeper, people think you’re washed up. People think you should hang it up. I want to show that it’s not.”