Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen has a quickly turned into the most dynamic athlete in ONE Championship.
This past year, he defeated Marat “Cobra” Gafurov to capture the ONE Featherweight World Championship, as well as Eduard “Landslide” Folayang to win the ONE Lightweight World Championship. In doing so, he became the first and only two-division world titleholder in the promotion. Next year, he hopes to bump that up to three.
Needless to say, the 28-year-old Vietnamese-Australian is one of the most talked about martial artists in the world. Here are five ways he is an incredible world champion, and an excellent role model for the world to emulate.
#5 He Is An Exciting Finisher
Practically every single martial artist who has entered a cage has gone the distance at least once, be it a three-round affair or a five-round title bout.
“The Situ-Asian,” however, is one of the rare few who has yet to go the judges’ scorecards. That is because he has developed a reputation for finishing every single one of his opponents, and rather quickly, at that.
Nguyen holds a marvelous professional record of 10-1, with seven of his victories coming by knockout, and another three by rear-naked choke submission. In total, that gives him a perfect 100 percent finishing rate. Even his sole loss was via submission, albeit in a world title bout he took on mere days’ notice.
As a two-division world champion, he will now have five rounds to stop future title challengers. But as history has shown, he has the tendency to end things in the opening stanza. Half of his wins have come in the very first round.
#4 He Is A Family Man
Something that will not appear in the wins and losses column is Nguyen’s undying commitment to his family.
He learned from an early age that family is everything. Nguyen’s parents, who migrated to Australia from Vietnam, left their homeland to provide a new life for their children. Beyond that, nearly his whole neighborhood was comprised of fellow Vietnamese, so he was surrounded by a community of loving people whom he referred to as his uncles, aunties, and cousins.
Now, with a young family of his own, the two-division world champion is determined to make them proud. He cites his lovely wife Brooke and his three children as his inspirations, and points to them as the source of his tremendous success.
#3 He Works Incredibly Hard
Nguyen has never viewed himself as extremely athletic or particularly talented. He believes the reason he is a two-division world champion is because he puts in the hard work necessary to achieve his goals.
The Aussie first learned the true meaning of hard work from his personal hero, his father. Growing up, his dad worked long hours as a laborer in the carpentry and tiling industries just to put food on the table.
The elder Nguyen’s never-ending diligence had always resonated with his son, and he wanted to follow in his dad’s footsteps by working hard and providing for his own family. “The Situ-Asian” has taken that earnest philosophy and applied it to every area of his life, including his elite martial arts training at KMA Top Team.
Even today, if people were to take one thing away from Nguyen’s accomplishments, he would want it to be that hard work pays off. That is what he prides himself on the most.
#2 He Is Humble
Aside from hard work and family, humility lies at the core of Nguyen’s being.
The Vietnamese-Australian hero is not the type of athlete who will trash talk his opponents. Even if “The Situ-Asian” faces someone he is not friendly with, he will compliment their skill set, and despite expressing confidence in achieving victory, he will acknowledge in the same breath that his chances are 50-50 at obtaining the win.
Beyond that, he does not brag about winning. For instance, after defeating Christian Lee in August 2016, he called the Singaporean a future world champion. Also, following his second-round knockout of Folayang this past November, he immediately checked on his fallen friend instead of celebrating.
Furthermore, he has remained relatively muted on that particular victory, because he wants to help Folayang move forward and not be constantly be reminded of that loss.
#1 He Is Ambitious And Driven
Every martial artist should continue to evolve, move forward, and become the best version of themselves they can possibly be. Nguyen perfectly personifies that ethos.
The Aussie has always been motivated to win every single match of his martial arts career, but when he lost to Gafurov by rear-naked choke in September 2015, he returned to the gym determined to eradicate his witness.
After racking up four consecutive first-round stoppage victories over top-notch competition, he earned a rematch with the Russian for the ONE Featherweight World Championship. During the title bout, Gafurov put him in the same rear-naked choke position, but Nguyen remained calm, escaped, and brought the contest back to his feet.
Not only did he prove he learned from his past mistakes, but he got the second round knockout, and the title belt. While many would be satisfied to reign atop their chosen division, Nguyen has set his sights on history.
Beyond a single world title, he was driven to challenge, and beat, Folayang for the lightweight belt. In March 2018, he looks to become the only three-division world champion in martial arts history, as he challenges Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes for the ONE Bantamweight World Championship at ONE: IRON WILL in Bangkok, Thailand.