On Friday, 2 August, Vietnamese-Australian warrior Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen defends his ONE Featherweight World Championship against Japanese star Koyomi “Moushigo” Matsushima at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
The two athletes will face off in the main event of the stacked ONE: DAWN OF HEROES card, which features some of the world’s best martial artists.
If Nguyen wins, he will become the first featherweight to defend the World Title three straight times. However, if Matsushima wins, the belt will hug yet another ONE featherweight’s waist – and it would not be the first time.
Ahead of the highly-anticipated clash between two of the world’s best featherweights, let’s take a look at the lineage of the ONE Featherweight World Championship belt since its inception in 2013.
Banario Crowned The First ONE Featherweight World Champion
The all-Filipino affair ended in round four, as the Team Lakay standout stopped Kelly via TKO.
Unfortunately for Banario, his reign was short-lived. By May, the gold belonged to Koji Oishi after he knocked out ”The Rock” in the second round.
Seven months later, the Japanese athlete became the first man to successfully defend the gold when he went head-to-head with his rival from Benguet again at ONE: MOMENT OF TRUTH.
Despite a partisan crowd of Banario’s compatriots in Manila cheering for him, Oishi finished him once again — this time, in the third stanza by knockout.
First Mongolian Crowned ONE Featherweight World Champion
ONE's first ever Mongolian World Champion, Jadambaa!Macau | 23 June | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, June 3, 2018
After five rounds of back-and-forth action, Jadambaa claimed a unanimous decision win to become the next ONE Featherweight World Champion.
He also became the first-ever Mongolian mixed martial arts World Champion.
A Battle For The ONE Interim Featherweight World Title
Fans were left wanting more; on 18 August, they'll get it.Kuala Lumpur | 18 August | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | PPV: Official Livestream at oneppv.com | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onegreatness17 | Prelims LIVE on Facebook
Posted by ONE Championship on Wednesday, August 16, 2017
On 27 September 2015, almost one year after claiming the featherweight crown, Jadambaa was set to defend his belt for the first time against undefeated Russian grappler Marat “Cobra” Gafurov at ONE: ODYSSEY OF CHAMPIONS in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Jadambaa, however, ran into visa problems and had to withdraw from the contest.
Nguyen, then-undefeated too, stepped in to contend with Gafurov, and both athletes battled it out for the ONE Interim Featherweight World Title.
Ultimately, Gafurov submitted “The Situ-Asian” just 41 seconds into the match-up to became the interim titleholder.
A New Rivalry Takes Shape
Adapt and overcome – that’s the name of the game.Manila | 20 April | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onehonor18
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, April 14, 2018
On 21 November 2015, ONE Featherweight World Champion Jadambaa and Interim World Champion Gafurov met to unify the two belts at ONE: DYNASTY OF CHAMPIONS (BEIJING).
Gafurov submitted the Mongolian via rear-naked choke in the fourth round to become the undisputed ONE Featherweight World Champion.
The two athletes battled it out for the better part of four rounds until the Russian cranked on a rear-naked choke and submitted “Tungaa” in the fourth period. By doing so, he unified the gold.
Will we see another signature RNC from Marat "Cobra" Gafurov on 3 May?Jakarta | 3 May | 6:30PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneforhonor19
Posted by ONE Championship on Thursday, April 18, 2019
The bout only lasted five and a half minutes, however, as Gafurov slapped on a rear-naked choke in round two and submitted his Japanese opponent.
As the Russian enjoyed the fruits of his labor, Jadambaa racked up back-to-back wins against Kotetsu Boku and Kelly.
The rear-naked choke specialist, pinning down his 6th consecutive finish.Manila | 20 April | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onehonor18
Posted by ONE Championship on Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Because of the two victories, Jadambaa earned himself another shot at ONE gold and challenged Gafurov for his ONE Featherweight World Championship on 11 November 2016 at ONE: DEFENDING HONOR in Singapore.
The Russian, however, stemmed the early attacks of his rival and secured a rear-naked choke on the Mongolian challenger to submit him with nine seconds remaining in the opening stanza.
In victory, Gafurov won his sixth consecutive bout by rear-naked choke and ninth overall bout in The Home Of Martial Arts.
Nguyen Avenges Loss, Wins Belt, And Runs With It
The undisputed featherweight king, Martin "The Situ-Asian" Nguyen, returns to the Circle on 2 August to defend his World Title against Japanese sensation Koyomi Matsushima!????: Manila | 2 August | 7PM | ONE: DAWN OF HEROES????: Get your tickets at ???? http://bit.ly/oneheroes19????: Check local listings for global TV broadcast????: Watch on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp ????????: Prelims LIVE on Facebook | Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE on Twitter
Posted by ONE Championship on Thursday, July 4, 2019
As Gafurov cleaned up the top tier of the featherweight division, Nguyen dominated in four straight bouts, winning each one in the first round.
“The Situ-Asian” earned himself a rematch with Gafurov at ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS on 18 August 2017 in Kuala Lumpur.
Gafurov controlled the first round, but in the second frame, Nguyen adjusted and landed an overhand right that knocked out the Russian athlete.
By winning, the Vietnamese-Australian not only avenged his 2015 loss to Gafurov, but he also earned the ONE Featherweight World Championship.
Name a more iconic duo than ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin "The Situ-Asian" Nguyen and his overhand right ????! We'll wait…Manila | 12 April | 6:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onehonor19
Posted by ONE Championship on Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Three months after winning the featherweight gold, Nguyen moved up to the lightweight division to challenge Eduard “Landslide” Folayang for his ONE Lightweight World Title at ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD in Manila.
Nguyen knocked out Folayang in round two with his trademark overhand right to become a two-division World Champion.
The bout was close, but Nguyen lost a razor-thin split decision.
After the failed attempt at becoming a three-division World Champion, the Vietnamese-Australian focused once again on defending his featherweight belt.
ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin "The Situ-Asian" Nguyen returns on 12 April to main event ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR against ultra-tough Mongolian hero Jadambaa!Manila | 12 April | 6:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onehonor19
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, March 23, 2019
The contest teetered over five rounds, and in the end, the titleholder secured a split decision win.
After his World Title defense, Nguyen took another shot at the bantamweight gold at ONE: REIGN OF KINGS in Manila on 27 July 2018.
Nguyen made good on that promise on 12 April 2019.
He defended his ONE Featherweight World Championship belt against a resurgent Jadambaa at ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR in the Philippines.
“The Situ-Asian” stifled Jadambaa with legs kicks and then knocked him out with a spectacular flying knee in round two.
By doing so, he tied Gafurov’s record for most ONE Featherweight World Title wins at three and most defenses at two.
The Future Of The ONE Featherweight World Title
On 2 August, Nguyen will once again defend his ONE Featherweight World Championship belt when he takes on Japanese contender Matsushima in the Mall Of Asia Arena.
If the Vietnamese-Australian warrior can beat “Moushigo,” then he will go down in ONE history as the first athlete to defend the ONE Featherweight World Title three straight times.
Will the 30-year-old set the record for most World Title defenses in ONE featherweight history? Or will Matsushima derail the “The Situ-Asian?”