Features

How Gaming Helps Martin Nguyen Stay On Top

Mar 28, 2020

Training to defend his ONE Featherweight World Title on the global stage is grueling work, but Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen uses gaming to help him relax and unwind from the daily grind.

Like most of his peers, the Vietnamese-Australian knockout artist was brought up on consoles. He first played Sega Mega Drive (also known as Sega Genesis), and then moved on to Nintendo 64 and Sony Playstation.

“It was like an escape. You could just be a kid,” he explains.

“On Sega Mega Drive, I played Alex Kidd and Sonic The Hedgehog, and then on Nintendo 64, I used to play Mario Kart, GoldenEye 007, and WrestleMania 2000 — man, the wrestling games were the best!

“Then I started playing on the laptop during high school – I played Counter-Strike a lot. I stopped playing because I was more into rugby and then I had a kid at home, so I never used to play.”



Between raising three children with his wife, Brooke, and developing his mixed martial arts career, Nguyen rarely ever had the time to fire up his laptop or old-school video game consoles.

That started to change in recent years, however.

In 2018, Nguyen was gifted with a laptop from ONE Esports partner Razer. Since then, he has used gaming as a release from his hectic schedule.

Also, the Vietnamese-Australian regularly bonds with his son, Kai, through a variety of activities such as rugby and martial arts. Now, he can add gaming to that extensive list, as the two play an assortment of video games including Fortnite and Minecraft.

Whether he is at home in Sydney, Australia, or away at training camp in Florida, USA, “The Situ-Asian” moves himself into the virtual world whenever he gets the chance.

“I got the laptop from Razer in 2018 and since then, I’ve been more heavily involved in gaming. It comes with me everywhere I go,” he explains.

“If I’m home, I wait until Brooke and the kids go to sleep, and then I’ll play. When I’m doing my camps overseas and relaxing on the weekends, I’ll play games.

“At home, I have a PS4 and I will play Grand Theft Auto or FIFA. On my laptop, I like Call Of Duty, Counter-Strike, and Overwatch.”

Gaming serves multiple purposes for the reigning featherweight king.

Not only does it serve as an opportunity to switch off from the day’s activities, but it is also a bridge to socialize with his online friends and his teammates outside of the gym.

“I don’t play to be the best in the world. I play to kill time, or to keep my mind thinking about something else other than what I’m going through. It’s like an escape,” the 31-year-old reiterates.

“If I play online, it’s like hanging out with the guys – except you’re not. You’re online, but you’re still talking to them and you still feel like you’re physically there hanging out.

“I play with all my training partners, and then I have other social networks that I play with as well. They know who I am because I have explained it to them. But when we first started, I was just another person.”

There is also a fellow ONE World Champion who has issued challenges to the Sydney native, though it is not inside the Circle.

“[ONE Flyweight World Champion] Adriano Moraes always tells me to jump on PUBG [PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds]. I do play it, but it does my head in, so I tell him, ‘I’m no good at this game,’” he says with a chuckle.

“Adriano recently downloaded Call Of Duty: Warzone, which just came out, so me and him will jump on it any day soon — I’m going to school this guy!”

With so many of ONE Championship’s top athletes joining the gaming and Esports ranks, there is always a chance that fans can bump into one of them online.

However, don’t expect “The Situ-Asian” to rise to any of the trolling. After all, he cites one of the unexpected side effects of his gaming as improved patience, unlike some of his cohorts.

“One thing that it has given me is the chance to meet new people,” he adds.

“How I met my social network outside of fighting is random — one guy plays and then you’re like, ‘Man, let’s have another game, let me invite my friends.’ Before you know it, there are five or six of us playing games together every single night.

“It really gives me patience, too. People go crazy over computer games. I can see why when something goes wrong, like when there are lags or when the internet cuts out. But for me, it’s just like, ‘Whatever, onto the next!”

Read more: The Roots Of Martin Nguyen’s Historic Success