ONE Middleweight World Champion Aung La N Sang may have just won a second world title, but he feels like he is just getting started.
“The Burmese Python” demolished Brazil’s Alexandre “Bebezao” Machado in the main event of ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD on Friday, 23 February, to claim the vacant ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship.
“It was an amazing feeling,” the 32-year-old begins. “The thing that excites me more is the fact that I had a great training camp, and I am only going to get better.”
Aung La N Sang delivered his best performance yet.
In front of a capacity hometown crowd at a roaring Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar, he marched down Machado, and whipped an unstoppable side roundhouse kick. Although the Brazilian partially blocked it, the powerful kick rattled through his defense. It rocked him and sent him backpedaling to the cage fence, where “The Burmese Python” landed a few final blows.
The official stoppage time was 56 seconds into the first round, which gives the Myanmar sports icon the fastest knockout and stoppage victory in ONE Championship’s light heavyweight history.
“That is one thing I was working on,” Aung La N Sang explains.
“As an orthodox martial artist, it is one of the [weapons] you have against a southpaw. You have your right cross, and your right kick. And because he was a grappler, the game plan was to keep it standing.
“It does not really matter if it is a 25-minute match, a 10-minute match, or less than one minute — I was ready to put on a great show.”
Now he is ready to put on some more great shows, and to defend both his coveted belts.
“The Burmese Python” has his eye on returning to the middleweight division first, where there are challengers lined up such as former titleholder Vitaly Bigdash, five-time BJJ World Champion Leandro Ataides, and many more of the world’s best martial artists that are finding their way into the organization.
Following that, he would like to jump back up to the light heavyweight division to defend his newly-won world championship against the next warrior ONE Championship throws his way.
“Ideally, I would defend the middleweight world title in the summer, and then the light heavyweight world title in the fall, because my weight is down right now. It is harder [to maintain weight], but the thing is I just competed at light heavyweight, and I do not want to hold up the middleweight division,” the Myanmar hero explains.
“I am a martial artist, first and foremost. I am not here to play. I am here to put on shows, to keep the belts, and to compete. It is my responsibility as the middleweight world champion to defend it, and if there are contenders, I am more than happy to defend it.”
The hard work is just beginning, however.
Aung La N Sang is looking to build upon his legacy, and he wants to develop a reputation as a defending two-division world champion. In addition to that, he wants to keep evolving, and raise the bar for competition.
“I am just excited about the future, and I am ready to elevate the level of martial arts in ONE Championship,” he says.
“The fact is I feel like I am in a good place. I am in a position where I can sharpen my skill set, and I can eliminate some of my weaknesses. I feel this is just the beginning.”