Aung La N Sang once sat proudly atop the MMA mountain, having won ONE Championship world titles in both the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions.
And now, as 2023 gets underway, “The Burmese Python” dreams once again of wearing gold around his waist.
This Friday, January 13, N Sang looks to build some more momentum toward another crack at the promotion’s middleweight crown when he meets Brazilian juggernaut Gilberto Galvao at ONE Fight Night 6.
Following an extensive run as a two-division champion, the Myanmar star’s reign came to an end at the hands of Reinier de Ridder, who took both of his belts with a pair of defeats.
Despite suffering a pair of losses to the same man, N Sang knows he can beat “The Dutch Knight.” However, he also knows he needs to create an impressive winning streak to even stand a chance at a third match.
Never one to look for easy competition, the Kill Cliff FC product returned to fight a fellow MMA veteran in Yushin Okami at ONE 163 last November. N Sang considered the Japanese star as his Asian MMA idol, but that wouldn’t prevent him from going all-out against “Thunder.”
“I was very focused on Okami,” the 37-year-old recalled.
“I really worked on being more mobile. Trying to attack his weaknesses and just be a better overall athlete and a better overall fighter for that fight. We’re just building off of that momentum right now.
“I’ve always wanted to compete against Okami, and being able to come out on top is a great feeling.”
N Sang returned with a message that he’s not to be counted out of the middleweight contention. “The Burmese Python” proved his word is bond that night with a blistering display to dispatch Okami inside the first frame.
Now, it’s all about forward progress for the Myanmar-born star. At 37 years old, he knows he’s getting no younger and wants to make the year ahead count.
And, should N Sang keep winning, then he knows it would be hard for anyone to deny him a shot at the ONE middleweight title.
“It’s up to Chatri [Sityodtong]. It’s up to ONE Championship. I’m a patient man,” he said.
“Being in this game for a while, I’m just gonna keep on getting better, putting on great performances for the fans. I just need to build momentum and put on a good performance for the fans, and the promotion and Chatri will see that I’m next in line for the title. It’s all up to them.”
In the end, it’s all about legacy for N Sang. His standards and goals are always high, but he always views them as achievable.
As he looks at the 12 months ahead, the middleweight says he will continue to work to become bigger and better in his quest for championship glory.
“This year, I will work toward getting my belt back. I’ll become a better athlete, a better father, and a better husband. That’s the same goal I keep all the time,” he revealed.
“This is my goal in my life, this is the goal for my next three years, and next 10 years. Those are the goals I keep and not just because it’s January 1st. I always have a goal in my life.”
The next step of the journey back comes in front of an American primetime audience on Friday the 13th, as N Sang takes on Brazil’s Galvao, who also returns to ONE with a statement to make.
Galvao hasn’t competed in ONE since 2019, where he came up short against current middleweight king, De Ridder. The Brazilian amassed a 2-2 record in his four bouts under the ONE banner and will be looking to halt the Myanmar fighter’s momentum.
If N Sang can topple “Giba,” his hopes of gunning for gold will glisten that much brighter and bring him another step closer to a shot at redemption against “The Dutch Knight.”
ONE Fight Night 6: Fight Card
- Superbon Singha Mawynn (c) vs. Chingiz Allazov – for featherweight kickboxing title
- Superlek Kiatmoo9 vs. Daniel Puertas – for vacant flyweight kickboxing title
- Mikey Musumeci (c) vs. Gantumur Bayanduuren – for flyweight submission grappling title
- Stamp Fairtex vs. Anissa Meksen – mixed rules bout (Muay Thai/MMA)
- Aung La N Sang vs. Gilberto Galvao
- Rodtang Jitmuangnon vs. Jidupo Yibu – kickboxing bout
- Garry Tonon vs. Johnny Nunez
- Anna Jaroonsak vs. Ekaterina Vandaryeva – Muay Thai bout
- Kim Jae Woong vs. Shoko Sato