Features

The Undisputed History Of The ONE Featherweight World Title

Jul 27, 2019

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

honorio "the rock" banario

The inaugural ONE Featherweight World Championship was decided when Honorio “The Rock” Banario took on Eric “The Natural” Kelly in February 2013 at ONE: RETURN OF WARRIORS in Kuala, Lumpur, Malaysia.

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!

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

In his second outing to defend his World Title, Oishi met Narantungalag “Tungaa” Jadambaa on 29 August 2014 at ONE: REIGN OF CHAMPIONS in Dubai.

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.

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?

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

“Cobra” then defended the undisputed ONE Featherweight World Title for the first time at ONE: KINGDOM OF CHAMPIONS on 27 May 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand against DEEP World Champion Kazunori Yokota.

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.

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 Nguyen, returns to the Circle on 2 August to defend his World Title against Japanese sensation Koyomi Matsushima!

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 Nguyen and his overhand right ????! We'll wait…

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.

He then moved down to bantamweight, where he challenged Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes for his ONE Bantamweight World Title at ONE: IRON WILL in Bangkok on 24 March 2018.

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 Nguyen returns on 12 April to main event ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR against ultra-tough Mongolian hero Jadambaa!

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

On 18 May 2018, Nguyen took on his old foe, Christian “The Warrior” Lee, at ONE: UNSTOPPABLE dreams in Singapore.

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.

However, he fell to Kevin Belingon by unanimous decision. Soon thereafter, he vacated the lightweight belt and vowed to become the most dominant force in his natural weight class.

one featherweight world champion martin nguyen

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

martin nguyen one featherweight world champion

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?”

eduard folayang eddie alvarez special edition shirt manila philippines Dawn Of Heroes

Manila | 2 August | 7PM | DAWN OF HEROES | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneheroes19