The heroes of ONE Championship all have one thing in common. They truly personify martial arts values such as integrity, honor, humility, respect, courage, discipline, and compassion, and showcase these admirable traits in every aspect of their lives, both in and out of the cage.
That has helped them to resonate with fans throughout Asia and the world, in turn allowing them to inspire countless others, and even entire countries.
From the past six months alone, we have compiled nine powerful photos that prove they are without a doubt, the world’s greatest martial artists in every sense of the term.
Aung La N Sang And Alain Ngalani In Yangon
ONE Middleweight World Champion Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang returned home to Yangon, Myanmar last November, and took on Alain “The Panther” Ngalani in the promotion’s first-ever Open Weight Super-Bout at ONE: HERO’S DREAM.
He submitted the hulking knockout artist via guillotine choke in the first round, and while the hometown fans understandably cheered for Aung La N Sang, he respectfully raised Ngalani’s arm after an embrace, prompting huge cheers for “The Panther” as well.
Martin Nguyen And Eduard Folayang In Manila
Last November, at ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD, ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen made history when he knocked out ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang to claim the Filipino’s belt. In the process, he became the first-ever two-division ONE World Champion.
However, Nguyen did not celebrate. The second he knocked Folayang out, he immediately checked on his fallen friend. It was genuine concern, and even after the results were read, he approached the Filipino hero to share words of respect.
It was a touching moment between two true world champions.
Adriano Moraes And Geje Eustaquio In Manila
Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio realized his lifelong dream at ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES this past January. He defeated former flyweight world titleholder Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov for the ONE Interim Flyweight World Championship in his home country of the Philippines.
ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes happened to be in attendance at the Mall Of Asia Arena. The Brazilian entered the cage, congratulated Eustaquio, and told the sold-out crowd: “Geje Eustaquio really deserved this belt. I have so much respect for this guy.”
The tremendous respect and admiration between the two warriors was apparent for the world to see, and was made all the more special by the fact “Gravity” obviously held no hard feelings – Moraes first won his belt by submitting Eustaquio.
Bibiano Fernandes And Martin Nguyen In Bangkok
Just a few weeks ago, ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes defended his belt against two-division ONE World Champion Nguyen at ONE: IRON WILL, and won via razor-thin split decision.
While the judges, and the fans, were split on the result, it is clear each warrior brought the best out of the other, and they made sure to show their mutual respect and admiration after such an epic five-round battle.
Rika Ishige And Rome Trinidad In Bangkok
Thai star Rika “Tinydoll” Ishige bounced back from her first career loss, and spoiled the debut of Filipina Rome “The Rebel” Trinidad in front of a hometown Bangkok crowd at ONE: WARRIORS OF THE WORLD in December 2017. She submitted Trinidad via rear-naked choke in round two.
After the match, however, it was Ishige who was on the floor. The Thai kneeled in respect to Trinidad, who reciprocated with a salute of her own.
Amir Khan And Adrian Pang In Singapore
Before the decision was even read, Khan went directly to the Australian’s corner, and expressed his gratitude for giving him the chance to compete against him for three hard rounds. Khan earned the victory, and the win over Pang catapulted him to new heights.
Mei Yamaguchi And Gina Iniong In Singapore
Before they joined ONE, Japan’s Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi and the Philippines’ Gina Iniong had met in another promotion back in March 2014. Iniong won via split decision, and the Japanese atomweight carried that burden up until November 2017.
In their rematch at ONE: IMMORTAL PURSUIT, Yamaguchi won a clear-cut unanimous decision. However, after 15 minutes of battle, the only thing the atomweights wanted to do was smile, hug it out, and wait for a possible trilogy sometime in the future.
Rafael Nunes And Eric Kelly In Manila
After a long hiatus, Brazil’s Rafael “Indio” Nunes returned to the ONE cage to meet the Philippines’ Eric “The Natural” Kelly at ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES. It was a competitive opening round, but the Brazilian submitted “The Natural” in the second frame via rear-naked choke.
Nunes may have gotten the victory, but he appeared more concerned with Kelly, as he remained by his side to make sure he was alright following the submission.
Shannon Wiratchai In Bangkok
Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai made his way into the record books at ONE: IRON WILL, when he knocked out Singapore-based Indian Rahul “The Kerala Krusher” Raju in 21 seconds, the second-fastest KO in the lightweight division.
The Thai did not care about his place in the record books, however. Once he threw the right hook that dropped his opponent, he immediately payed his respects to his opponent safety instead of celebrating, and even gave him words of encouragement on Facebook the next day.