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Ariel Sexton's Globetrotting Childhood Taught Him To Chase His Dream

Feb 21, 2019

Ariel “Tarzan” Sexton did not have a normal childhood, but his globetrotting life laid the foundations for him to become a world-class martial artist in ONE Championship.

He did not know it at the time, but his experiences all over the world have prepared him for the biggest challenge of his career – the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix.

The 37-year-old’s campaign in that historic tournament will begin against Amir Khan at ONE: CALL TO GREATNESS this Friday, 22 February.

Ariel Sexton FLEXED on knockout king Amir Khan at the official face-offs for ONE: CALL TO GREATNESS 👀

Ariel “ Tarzan” Sexton FLEXED on knockout king Amir Khan Ansari at the official face-offs for ONE: CALL TO GREATNESS 👀Singapore | 22 February | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Facebook: Prelims LIVE | Twitter: Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onegreatness19

Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, February 19, 2019

On his travels, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu pioneer from Costa Rica witnessed extreme poverty first-hand, which has kept him humble throughout his life and encouraged him to maintain a relentless work ethic.

“You understand there’s a lot of people out there that don’t have what you have, and you build up this gratitude,” he says.

“Not everybody has clean water, electricity, clothes, and food – just the basics.”

Sexton was born in Vancouver, Canada, and raised there along with stints in his Central American motherland. However, his father ran an importing business, which took the family across continents.

He also spent time in Asia, and has vivid memories which have left a permanent mark on his worldview.

What highlight-reel submission will Ariel Sexton pull out of his bag of tricks when he goes up against knockout artist Amir Khan on Friday?

What highlight-reel submission will Ariel “ Tarzan” Sexton pull out of his bag of tricks when he goes up against knockout artist Amir Khan Ansari on Friday?Singapore | 22 February | 6:30PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Facebook: Prelims LIVE | Twitter: Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onegreatness19

Posted by ONE Championship on Wednesday, February 20, 2019

“When I was a little kid in Thailand, my dad would take me out behind the train tracks and give things out to the poor kids,” he recalls.

“I remember they robbed us – they took everything off my dad and me. My dad lifted me over his head to protect me. I was like, ‘What happened?’

“They were just so desperate. They had nothing.

“Another time in Kathmandu in Nepal, I was coming home, and I saw these kids wearing my clothes, running around the streets.

“My mom had given out all my clothes to all these kids that had none, and she was like, ‘Don’t worry, we will get you more.’

“I have all these pictures of me wearing these little Nepalese hats and jackets they had bought for me, so yeah, these are amazing things that you’ll have in your heart forever.”

What drives ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix competitor Ariel Sexton?

What drives ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix competitor Ariel “ Tarzan” Sexton?Singapore | 22 February | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onegreatness19

Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Sexton learned that for many people, and without any obvious reason, life was not easy. The financial security he enjoyed in Canada was a world away from the destitution he saw in other countries.

He was no longer blinkered after being exposed to this reality which, simply by being fortunate enough to be born in one place or another, could make life so different.

“Once you know that the world is a lot bigger than just your backyard you have a lot of compassion.

“You feel connected to the world – it made it really small – and you respect everybody.”

It also made him realize that money cannot buy happiness, which is why he pursued his martial arts passion.

Will Ariel Sexton seize the biggest opportunity of his career on 22 February?

Will Ariel “ Tarzan” Sexton seize the biggest opportunity of his career on 22 February?Singapore | 22 February | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onegreatness19

Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, February 2, 2019

When the 37-year-old was starting out in BJJ and mixed martial arts, there was no guarantee it would pay off, but he was grateful that he had his health and the opportunity to go after his dreams.

“I was more into just being happy. I [only] had what I had at a really young age,” he explains.

He slept on couches and hustled in whatever way he could to get by and continue doing what he loved. Inspired by the people he had seen throughout his life, he maintained a tireless work ethic so he could succeed.

Now that he is at the elite level, set to compete in a World Grand Prix that could push him into a ONE Lightweight World Title shot, Sexton is in a position to inspire others in their own struggles – like so many of his peers in the world’s largest martial arts organization.

“The world is a hard place, so we need more people to motivate us,” he adds.

Singapore | 22 February | 7:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super Apphttp://bit.ly/ONESuperApp| TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Ticketshttp://bit.ly/onegreatness19