Bi “Killer Bee” Nguyen has seen plenty of highs and lows inside the Circle, but the 32-year-old’s unwavering warrior spirit keeps her pushing to come back better than ever each time she steps onto the global stage.
Nguyen is one of the most exciting atomweight fighters on the roster, as she became the first person to defeat Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat and engaged in thrilling battles with the likes of ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Champion Stamp Fairtex.
“Killer Bee” intends to deliver even more excitement in her bout at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, but she also expects to cap off her performance with a memorable finish.
Ahead of fight night, Nguyen talks about the biggest lesson she has recently learned, breaks down her opponent’s game, and gives her take on the massive Stamp versus “Unstoppable” Angela Lee World Title main event at ONE X.
ONE Championship: When you last competed, you fell short against Jenelyn Olsim. And like your previous outings, it was another close fight. Coming out of that last match, what’s the biggest lesson you were able to take away from it?
Bi Nguyen: There are tiny breakdowns. I watched that fight thoroughly with my coach, and let me tell you, I’m one of the most honest critics there is. She dropped me because my feet were slightly together at one point. But all in all, technically, I think I did a great job. She was just bigger and stronger, which is how I felt in that fight.
That just means I need to be cleaner, which is kind of frustrating. But I realized after that fight, as much as my heart wants to believe that I’m a big pickup truck, I’m kind of small. I’ve adjusted my fight style to make sure that the size doesn’t make decisions anymore.
ONE: You have another bout coming up against Lin Heqin, and she’ll have a reach advantage. I don’t think that’s something you’re not accustomed to at this point, but how do you plan to combat her height and reach?
BN: It’s funny because I have quite the experience with tall strikers. She seems to be a counterpuncher, and she seems to do a little pitty-pat and throw a bunch of stuff out there that’s not so threatening so that she can come for a big punch. She’s like waiting to bait you in.
I think I’m just going to be the slicker fighter. I have more angles, more dynamic striking. I have the takedowns, and I’m thankful to have her fight with Ritu to look at because I saw what Ritu could have done to finish her, but didn’t do.
They went to a decision, and Ritu dominated, but I saw a few points in that fight where a slight adjustment could have finished the fight.
ONE: Clearly, you both prefer to fight on the feet. That said, who do you think is the better striker in this matchup?
BN: I think I am because I’m more dynamic. I think that I also hold more power. I didn’t see it in her last fight, that she had much power. I think with those simple combos, she stays active, and she’s long, but I have more angles. I have more power in my punches, and I’m going to have a lot of fun just seeing how smart I can strike in this fight.
ONE: She had an 11-bout winning streak that was snapped by Ritu. How do you think that loss affects her mindset? Do you think she’s going to be more motivated, or do you think there’s going to be more doubts in her head?
BN: I wouldn’t see her not being motivated. She’s absolutely motivated to showcase that she belongs here.
She was thrown into the deep end of our division, and she is going to want to prove that she belongs here. So, I think that she’s going to be super motivated. There’s going to be a bit of pressure coming from a great record like that and two straight losses in a huge promotion. I think she has a lot to prove.
ONE: Ultimately, how do you anticipate this fight playing out?
BN: I’m not huge on putting my emotional value on how things come out, to be honest. I’m just going to go in there and I’m going to overwhelm her with my striking, and hopefully, that opens up a finish.
Whether it be on the feet and she can’t handle it, she’s overwhelmed, or whether it opens up to a takedown and I finish on the ground. But I see a finish. I see a finish in the second round. I see myself figuring it out and finding it in the second round, whatever it may be.
ONE: You’ve competed against Stamp Fairtex, the winner of the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix. What did you think about her run through the tournament – especially her submission victory over Ritu in the final?
BN: What’s dangerous about Stamp is she’s young and a crazy hard worker. She just loves fighting. She’s really embraced the grind of MMA, and she is evolving at a rapid pace.
I think that Ritu’s mistake – and you can tell from her interviews and you can tell in her demeanor – is that she was overconfident in her strengths and underestimated everybody else on the ground. But that’s all a process to learn. It’s all a process for fighters.
I think Stamp was just ready for anything, and Ritu just really thought she was going to go in there, take her down, and demolish her. That’s how Stamp was able to adapt in the fight and just take a Hail Mary armbar because it was there.
When you’re ready for anything, you’ll find it. When you’re searching for one thing and it doesn’t happen, you can’t come up from that, and Ritu was just drowning after that.
ONE: As you know, Stamp is now challenging ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee for the gold at ONE X. What are your thoughts on that fight?
BN: I’m so excited because everybody knows I was rooting for Stamp. She’s given me the hardest war [in my career] and brought out the best of me in this division, so I’ve always been a big fan of her after that.
This is classic new school versus old school. Angela has to prove that she is still here and she belongs here. She’s got to face the young, rapidly growing star, and that’s just epic. I think it’s a great matchup. I really do think Stamp might take it.
ONE: As an atomweight fighter, how does it make you feel to know that your division will be featured in the main event of ONE X?
BN: I’m so proud of it because when I signed to ONE, Stamp was just coming in, and Angela was just ruling it. Kudos to Angela for being the first one to bring attention to atomweight. But at that point, she wasn’t fighting any competition. We still needed something to prove.
We’re interesting, and Angela was good, but it was just Angela at that point. Now, we’ve shown that it is deep waters with a bunch of sharks. I’m just really proud of how big it’s grown, and the atomweight division’s really living up to its hype.