The Vietnamese-Australian superstar is looking to kick off a big 2019 by cementing his position at the top of the featherweight tree. To do that, he will need to defeat former titleholder Narantungalag “Tungaa” Jadambaa in the main event.
Before the 30-year-old makes his eagerly-awaited return at the Mall Of Asia Arena, check out his remarkable path to the top of the martial arts world.
A Tight-Knit Community
A World Champion dad!Manila | 27 July | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onekings18
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, 21 July 2018
Growing up in Liverpool, New South Wales, Nguyen was raised in a tight-knit community of Vietnamese ex-pats who had traveled from Vietnam, through Malaysia, and had eventually settled in Australia.
His parents and many people from their neighborhood left the Southeast Asian country towards the end of the Vietnam War in the 1970s, and built a new life together.
“People of the local suburb and neighbors who had moved all kept close. They stuck together as one big group, and created a community here,” he recalled.
“So, basically, the people in the community are not blood uncles, blood aunties, and blood cousins. They are family friends, but I still relate to them as uncles, aunties, and cousins, because they all stuck by each other.”
With a strong support network around him, Nguyen had a stable foundation from which to grow and find his way in the world.
However, “The Situ-Asian” was something of a tearaway during his childhood. He admittedly caused trouble both at home and at school, but he found discipline through rugby and even joined reputable junior teams.
Any last hints of mischievousness completely disappeared when he met his future wife, Brooke, and later had children of his own.
From Rugby To Martial Arts
Tag a friend who needs to watch Martin "The Situ-Asian" Nguyen in action!Download the ONE Super App now http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, 10 December 2018
After suffering multiple injuries, Nguyen stopped playing rugby and eventually put on some unwanted weight.
In a bid to get back into shape, he checked out KMA Top Team in 2010 and embarked on a martial arts journey.
“I started taking up BJJ classes after being a bit overweight,” he said. “The discipline through martial arts is on another level, compared to contact sports such as rugby league.”
Nguyen quickly became hooked on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and his competitive nature led to him entering his first grappling tournament.
Following a third-place finish in his first-ever tournament, he committed to his training even more and made the transition to mixed martial arts.
The Vietnamese-Australian experienced immediate success in the all-encompassing sport.
He reeled off four consecutive victories to win his first amateur tournament. A year later, with an improved and expanded skill set, he repeated the feat.
Although he originally trained in martial arts purely for elevating his fitness, “The Situ-Asian” realized he had found a new competitive avenue for his athletic endeavors.
“It was time for me to bring my skills to the cage, and see what I could do,” he said.
Coping With Tragedy
After claiming the BRACE Featherweight Title in November 2013, Nguyen shared a magical moment with his father.
“The Situ-Asian” showed the family patriarch the championship he won, and he beamed with joy.
“My dad looked at [the belt]. He was all happy and taking pictures with it. It was awesome,” Nguyen recalled.
“And then he said, ‘Alright, you got the belt now. Enough. Just call it quits.’ No parent likes to see their child getting injured in a match or anything like that, so he said, ‘Enough now. No more.’”
That would be the final conversation Nguyen ever had with his father.
Just weeks after that magical moment, his dad passed away. Following a bone marrow transplant, he contracted pneumonia during the healing process and unfortunately, he could not recover.
“I never experienced any hardship or heartbreak until then, and I will never forget that day,” Nguyen said.
“He was in Melbourne at that time, so I flew into Melbourne to see him. Everything was happening so fast, and then he was gone.
“I did not even get to speak to him, and there are a lot of things I wish I could have said to him. It was heartbreaking.”
The loss of his father hit “The Situ-Asian” hard, but his determination to make his late father proud has been a driving force in his mixed martial arts career ever since.
World Title History
ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin "The Situ-Asian" Nguyen is BACK in action on 12 April! Manila | 12 April | 7:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onehonor19
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, 1 March 2019
Nguyen earned a contract with ONE Championship, and he claimed a submission victory in his promotional debut in November 2014.
Though he fell short against Marat “Cobra” Gafurov for an opportunity to become the division’s interim champion in September 2015, he stormed his way back to the top.
Following four consecutive first-round victories, he knocked out the Dagestani in a rematch to capture the ONE Featherweight World Championship at ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS in August 2017.
Three months later, he made history by knocking out Filipino star Eduard “Landslide” Folayang with an overhand right — the same technique he used to defeat “Cobra” — at ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD to pick up the lightweight belt and become the first two-division ONE World Champion.
Although an injury forced him to relinquish the ONE Lightweight World Championship last September, “The Situ-Asian” is fully healed and ready to continue his reign as the featherweight king.
Nguyen will defend his crown against Jadambaa on 12 April, and he will also look to further build his legacy as one of the most exciting athletes to ever compete in The Home Of Martial Arts.
“When people talk about me, I want them to say: ‘That guy has had the toughest fights his whole career, he has beaten guys in their prime, and he has warrior spirit,’” the Vietnamese-Australian explained.
“That is why, when a bout comes up, I put my heart and soul into it.”
Manila | 12 April | 7:00PM | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onerootsofhonor19