After cornering friend and teammate Martin Nguyen during his ONE Featherweight World Championship defense at ONE: Roots of Honor at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, two-division ONE World Champion Aung La N Sang got to see up close what it’s like to compete in front of Filipino fight fans.
Aung La also got to see just how much love Nguyen got from the crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Now, “The Burmese Python” wants to be able to do it himself.
“Why doesn’t Brandon Vera do a match with me in the Philippines? Wouldn’t that be awesome? Why Japan? Why not the Philippines? I would love to compete in front of the Filipino crowd,” Aung La shared during Friday’s Roots of Honor post-fight press conference.
Aung La is coming off a dominant defense of the ONE Middleweight World Championship at ONE: A New Era in Tokyo, Japan last March.
Later his year, Myanmar-born star is set to defend the ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship against, ironically enough, a Filipino star in ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera.
The light heavyweight dream match has been set for ONE’s return to Japan on October 13th.
If it were up to Aung La however, he has no problems facing Vera in front of a pro-Pinoy crowd.
“The Filipino crowd are hardcore combat fans, you see that arena? It’s packed! I would love to do it here. Why wait for Japan?” he expressed.
As it turns out, it was during his first trip to Manila that Aung La decided he also wanted to become a two-division world champion after watching Nguyen become the first person in ONE Championship to become a “double-champ” so to speak.
“The first time I was in the Philippines, [Martin] became the double-champ, that’s why I requested to fight for the vacant light heavyweight belt.”
Nguyen has had a number of big matches in Manila, including three world title bouts, and Aung La admits that he too would love to be able to showcase his skills in front of a Filipino crowd.
The Philippines, after all, is considered one of the biggest MMA markets in Asia, thanks largely to the country’s love for combat sports.
“I love the Philippines, and I would love to compete here, Thrilla in Manila, who doesn’t want to do that? Which MMA competitor doesn’t want to do that? That would be awesome for me,” Aung La stated.