Martial arts builds character, but it also builds connections. Sometimes those connections blossom to more serious relationships.
That is no different here in ONE Championship, where the world’s best athletes have experienced life-changing moments of finding the man or woman of their dreams.
Here are five stories of how some of ONE’s greatest athletes found love.
#1 The Story Of Bibiano And Amanda
While out eating with his teammates in Langley, British Columbia, Canada, he spotted Amanda working as a waitress and was smitten.
The World Champion found the courage to give her his phone number and ask her out on a date. She never called, however. He even texted her, but she turned him down, saying she was too busy.
Then, one day out of the blue, his phone rang.
“One day, she called me, so we went for coffee, and had a good conversation,” the Brazilian says.
“We talked about life, what I do for a living, and what she did. After that, I said I wanted to marry that girl.”
That is exactly what happened, as Bibiano and Amanda are now happily married with three sons.
#2 The Story Of Brandon And Jessica
Jessica was working at Alliance Training Center in San Diego, California, USA, and experienced problems with her boyfriend, so Brandon and his then-wife gave her a place to stay.
While Vera was away on a promotional trip for ONE, however, he was rocked by the news that his wife wanted a divorce. He confided in Jessica, who helped him through the difficult time in his life, and slowly, the pair started to get closer.
Eventually, their love for food and Jawaiian music – a blend of Hawaiian and reggae – drew them together and they became a couple. But when Vera decided to relocate to Manila, Philippines to further his career, he was unsure what would happen with his relationship with Jessica.
Jessica quickly removed any doubts “The Truth” might have had, however.
“She said, in a different tone, ‘You lead, I follow, no matter what, and no matter where,'” Vera says.
“How often do you find that, or even hear that from someone? That could have been when she got me.”
After a beautiful ceremony in 2018, the pair are happily married, and they are continuing their journey in life together.
- How Bibiano Became A Martial Arts Legend In Japan
- How The Military Shaped Brandon Vera Into A World Champion
- After A Whirlwind 2019, Agilan Thani Looks Ahead To The Future
#3 The Story Of Gina And Richard
Gina “Conviction” Iniong is enjoying the best success of her martial arts career, and she credits a large amount of that to her husband, Richard.
The pair met at a Muay Thai tournament in the Philippines very early in Iniong’s martial arts journey. She was competing, and he was watching in the crowd.
“After my fight, he came up to me and asked for a picture,” she says.
“We soon became friends and from there, we opened up communication.”
The pair grew closer and developed a relationship that continues to this day.
They have traveled together, played sports together, and now have an unbreakable bond that has helped push “Conviction” to the best performances of her career inside the ONE Circle.
“I think love is a very important part of being a martial artist because it gives you something to fight for,” Iniong says.
“When you fight for more than just yourself, that is when you begin to unlock your true potential. I am lucky to have Richard behind me and supporting me through the good and bad times.”
#4 The Story Of Aung La N Sang And Katie
ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Champion Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang now lives and trains in Florida at Hardknocks 365 in Fort Lauderdale, but it was at his previous gym of Crazy 88 MMA in Baltimore, Maryland where he met the love of his life.
The two-division ONE World Champion was teaching at the gym when Katie walked through the doors to start training, and she soon became attracted to the Myanmar athlete and asked him out.
“I said no at first, because I was also her instructor and the kickboxing instructor, and we were not supposed to date [the students],” he says.
However, the mutual attraction between the pair only grew stronger as they spent more time together at the gym. She continued to ask him out, and eventually, he accepted, and the pair had their first official date.
They quickly discovered they were the perfect match for each other, and in 2013, they got married. They had a son two years later, and now Aung La N Sang competes for them every time he steps into the cage.
“They really motivate me to be better, and really motivate me to make the most out of my opportunities and to not waste any time getting to my goals,” he says.
“A lot of my decisions in my martial arts career are made so I can take care of them.”
#5 The Story Of Stamp And Rodtang
ONE Atomweight Kickboxing and Muay Thai World Champion Stamp Fairtex and ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon met at the ONE Elite Retreat in April of 2019, and since then, the two hit it off.
“Rodtang and I have been dating for about 8 months now. I feel like everything is good with him. He gets along with my parents, the gym, and understands training,” she says.
“Having a boyfriend has made me even more dedicated because I want my trainers and managers to see that I am as diligent as ever.”
Although Stamp lives in trains in Pattaya at Fairtex and “The Iron Man” lives and trains in Bangkok at Jitmuangnon, they have kept the long-distance relationship alive.
“Rodtang is also a boxer, so we know when each of us has to practice, and understand how hard and tiring it is. We also encourage each other, and he is there to help teach new techniques.”