The iconic Ryoguku Kokugikan played host to the biggest event in martial arts history on Sunday, 13 October as ONE: CENTURY delivered two full cards of world-class action in Tokyo, Japan.
The night featured four World Championship super-bouts, a trio of World Grand Prix finales, and a host of other spectacular performances that will live long in the memory.
But what’s next for the night’s big winners in Japan? Now that the dust has settled, take a look at the potential next steps for five of the big winners from ONE’s historic event.
Aung La N Sang
After Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang defended his ONE Light Heavyweight World Title with a brilliant display against heavyweight king Brandon “The Truth” Vera, Myanmar’s national hero says he wants to return to defend his middleweight gold.
That could mean a World Title defense against a new opponent, or a rematch with a very familiar foe, with the two top middleweight contenders set to face off at ONE: DAWN OF VALOR in Jakarta, Indonesia next Friday, October 23.
Leandro “Leo” Ataides has been knocking on the door of a title shot for the past 12 months thanks to three consecutive wins. The Brazilian’s powerful striking, backed up by elite-level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu would pose a fresh new test for Aung La N Sang.
Another option could see “The Burmese Python” complete in a ONE Middleweight World Championship trilogy with Vitaly Bigdash. Bigdash took the victory in their first meeting, but Aung La N Sang claimed the belt in the rematch.
Both were epic, five-round battles and a third contest between the pair would be huge for the middleweight division.
Whoever gets their hand raised at the Istora Senayan will stake a big claim to leap into contention, and set up another dramatic main event clash.
Read more: Aung La N Sang: ‘What’s Next? Middleweight’
No speculation is necessary when we look ahead to what is in the future of Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.
By becoming ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Champion, the 33-year-old has earned a shot at Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes.
The American mixed martial arts legend says he needs some time to recuperate after taking on three tough opponents in little more than six months, but he will be ready to take on the Brazilian for the ONE Flyweight World Title in early 2020.
When the draw for the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix was first announced, many fans overlooked how stacked the tournament was and started to look forward to a bout that never quite materialized.
The two pre-tournament favorites, Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan and “The Boxing” Computer” Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex, were expected by many to meet in the final in Tokyo, but the Muay Thai ace’s shock exit at the hands of Samy Sana meant that dream bout did not come to fruition.
Despite the Thai hero’s defeat, that contest has lost none of its luster, and now that Petrosyan has won the tournament, ONE matchmakers have the opportunity to book the clash of striking styles.
This battle of technical power strikers from the worlds of Muay Thai and kickboxing is bound to produce fireworks, and ONE Chairman and CEO, Chatri Sityodtong, gave it the go-ahead after ONE: CENTURY.
Both men have expressed their interest in facing each other in the past, so their meeting seems to be inevitable.
Read more: Yodsanklai, Buakaw Could Face Petrosyan Next
“Unstoppable” Angela Lee’s incredible, come-from-behind ONE Atomweight World Title defense in her rematch with “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan set up a rubber match for the future.
The Singaporean wants to challenge for the ONE Strawweight World Title again, but her boss also likes the idea of another trilogy bout, against another old rival, and in the division where she has brought her best performances.
Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi’s four-bout win streak cannot be matched by any women’s mixed martial artist in any division, so no one can deny her claim to challenge for the belt again.
Though she has twice lost to Lee, both matches were very close and went down to the wire. They also brought 25 minutes of pure entertainment, so another five rounds of action could give any card the perfect finale.
Christian “The Warrior” Lee’s short-notice win to capture the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Championship leaves him as the undisputed top dog in ONE’s lightweight division.
The ONE Lightweight World Champion now has an even bigger target on his back, and the top contenders are lining up to face him next.
The 21-year-old from Singapore wants to test himself against former UFC and Bellator World Champion Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez, and the American has welcomed that bout.
— Eddie Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) October 13, 2019
However, Timofey Nastyukhin also has a strong claim to get a World Title shot. The Russian only bowed out of the World Grand Prix at the semifinal stage due to injury, and he stunned the martial arts world with his superb stoppage win over Alvarez in the quarterfinals.
The Siberian knockout artist is back in the gym following surgery on his knee three months ago, so he could offer a fresh, new, dangerous challenge to Lee’s reign.
If Nastyukhin gets the next shot at Lee’s ONE Lightweight World Title, he would be the perfect opponent for Alvarez after his grappling masterclass that saw him stop former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario in just 54 seconds.
That would give two of the biggest mixed martial arts icons from East and West the chance to end a rivalry that began all the way back in 2008. Aoki submitted Alvarez via heel hook in 92 seconds on New Year’s Eve of that year, before the American gained redemption with a first-round knockout in April 2012.
Now, as both men are coming off recent wins on the global stage, the tie could not be more right for a mouth-watering rubber match to settle the score.