The athletes of ONE Championship are heroes, dedicating their lives to compete against the best martial artists on the planet, and inspiring people all over the world.
With that in mind, it is easy to compare some of the promotion’s top competitors to the icons of the Marvel Universe, including many appearing at ONE: UNSTOPPABLE DREAMS on Friday, 18 May, in Singapore.
As one of the biggest superhero movies of all-time – Avengers: Infinity War – is released in theaters this week, we take a brief look at which one of these costumed characters our martial arts stars could be.
“Unstoppable” Angela Lee – Gamora
ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee has trained in martial arts under the tutelage of her father ever since she was old enough to walk. All her life, she has honed her skills to be the best, and all of that sounds a lot like the Guardians of the Galaxy’s Gamora.
Gamora also went through a lifetime of training under her father Thanos, albeit in much more unpleasant circumstances. Her parallels with Lee are plenty, as the 21-year-old is also kind-hearted hero who turns into “the most dangerous woman in the universe” when the time calls for it.
Today, Lee has become one of the best women’s martial artists in the world, being a world-class ground specialist and a sharp striker capable of dominating any opponent wherever a bout takes place.
On 18 May in Singapore, she will defend her ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title against Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi in the most anticipated rematch in women’s martial arts history.
Eduard “Landslide” Folayang – Captain America
Still, Folayang battled for a better life, and he eventually worked his way to becoming the ONE Lightweight World Champion by defeating Shinya Aoki in November 2016.
That is just like Steve “Captain America” Rogers, who started life at the bottom as a sickly young man full of heart and determination, before becoming a highly-skilled national icon and superhero.
Folayang has embodied that same spirit throughout his career, persevering to represent the Philippines with dignity. He’s also capable of taking out his opponents based on pure heart alone, and he will be aiming to prevail once again in his upcoming clash with unbeaten Russian Kharun “Predator” Atlangeriev (11-0).
Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen – Thor
Growing up, Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen admitted he was a bit of a wild child, and would often get into trouble. However, he would discover martial arts, which forged his warrior spirit.
The Vietnamese hero then went through a spell of incredible heartbreak, as he unexpectedly lost his father and role model in December 2013, and experienced his first career blemish when he fell to Marat Gafurov in an interim featherweight world title challenge back in September 2015.
Despite those setbacks, Nguyen did not stay down. He got back up, and went on a tear, as he captured both the ONE Featherweight and Lightweight World Championships in 2017, and undoubtedly made his late father proud.
All of that sounds like the Asgardian Thor, who also went through many similar circumstances before he became the noble warrior king we see on the silver screen today.
Now, just like the Norse God of Thunder, Nguyen carries an insatiable thirst for battle, and takes on any challenge whatever the odds may be in search for glory. That was why he went after a third world title by taking on ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes.
However, after falling short in that historic challenge, the determination to defend his featherweight belt against Christian Lee in Singapore is likely to be greater than ever.
Christian “The Warrior” Lee – Spiderman
Despite being just 19 years of age, Christian “The Warrior” Lee is already considered to be one of the most skilled featherweight martial artists in the world. After all, he first began training alongside his father, his mother, and his older sister Angela, as soon as he was old enough to walk.
While he never went through the personal loss that Peter Parker went through, their warrior spirit and fighting style certainly match up.
Both are young dynamos who overwhelm their opponent with speed, agility, and power in their strikes from all angles, and while Lee does not entangle his opponents with webs, he does it in another way – his black belt Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
What’s more, Lee has had values such as integrity, honor, humility, respect, courage, discipline, and compassion cultivated within him from an early age, just like Spiderman.
Alain “The Panther” Ngalani – Drax The Destroyer
Four-time Muay Thai and kickboxing Heavyweight World Champion Alain Ngalani is one of the most imposing figures to ever set foot into the ONE Championship cage. Blessed with deceptive speed, stunning agility, and undeniable knockout power, the hulking Ngalani is a highly-skilled martial artist.
However, while it would be easy to simply compare “The Panther” to Bruce Banner’s alter ego of the green-skinned giant based on his physique, Ngalani actually fits the mold of a similar figure – Drax the Destroyer.
Both Ngalani and Drax are heavily-muscled family men who enjoy a good laugh, but can simply flick a switch to become one of the deadliest warriors you will ever meet. The similarities are simply as enormous as they are.
Ngalani may not have an opponent yet, but he’s sure to return to action in the months to come, either in his new light heavyweight division or in ONE Super Series, so watch out for him.