The Myanmar icon got to know Wakamatsu when they trained together at Sanford MMA in Florida last June. He was very impressed with the #3-ranked flyweight contender, who is returning to action against “Wolf Warrior” Hu Yong at ONE: WINTER WARRIORS next Friday, 3 December.
“He’s fast, man. He’s fast, technically sound, very hungry, young, and wanted to learn and absorb everything when he was at Sanford,” Aung La N Sang says.
The 26-year-old Wakamatsu certainly made an impact on the former two-division ONE World Champion, drawing praise for his commitment inside the gym and his likability outside of it.
“He did great. He was a great training partner. He was a great teammate for everybody. And good energy to be around. I’m excited for him,” Aung La N Sang says.
“He’s a joker. He’s a really happy-go-lucky kind of guy. I didn’t get to go to the paintballing that our teammates went to, but he was the only guy without a t-shirt on while they were paintballing. That shows what kind of character he is.”
Along with Aung La N Sang, Sanford MMA is home to dozens of world-class mixed martial artists, all with the same focus and direction.
Fellow ONE Championship stars Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, Brandon “The Truth” Vera, and “The Dragon Leg” Tial Thang are all part of the famed stable, and “The Burmese Python” believes Wakamatsu will benefit specifically from training alongside heavier athletes.
“I think that would give him confidence, working with guys in his weight class, or even above,” Aung La N Sang says.
“I know he worked a lot with Darrion Caldwell. Tial as well. All these strong bantamweight guys. So I think it’ll give him a lot of confidence.”
ONE’s flyweight division is stacked with elite talent, but “Little Piranha” is one of its hottest rising stars.
His punching power has put him on a four-bout winning streak, which includes a Fight of the Year candidate against #5-ranked contender Reece McLaren this past April.
Aung La N Sang knows the road to World Championship gold is extremely tough, but he believes the sky is the limit for Wakamatsu as he continues to evolve – both at his home gym of Tribe Tokyo MMA and with more visits to Sanford MMA.
“I think [he could be a World Champion]. He’s still young, he’s still growing,” Aung La N Sang adds.
“It’s going to be tough, with Adriano [Moraes] being the king at that weight class. But, of course, I believe with hard work and dedication, anything’s possible.
“It really depends on how he takes the next step or how he progresses as a fighter.”