Bi “Killer Bee” Nguyen knows her back is up against the wall.
The Vietnamese-American mixed martial artist has experienced a tough run on the global stage, but she’s eager to reverse her futures and prove that she’s a top contender
“I definitely feel personal pressure,” Nguyen says.
“I know how good I am, my fans know how good I am. It’s time for me to prove it. It’s time for me to fight smarter and get the win. It’s not enough to just put on a show. It’s time to shut it down.”
But that was followed by three tight decision losses against then-#4-ranked atomweight contender Stamp Fairtex, Myanmar Boxing Champion Bozhena “Toto” Antoniyar, and Wushu World Champion Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan.
The defeat to Jihin this past December turned out to be a blessing in disguise, however, as it forced the Vietnamese-American to look in the mirror and see where things had gone wrong.
Nguyen always knew she had the skills to contend with anyone in the division, but she realized that she’d been fighting with too much emotion and was not focused enough during training.
“The last couple of fights, I’ve just been going through the motions, camp after camp,” the 31-year-old admits.
“It’s one of those lessons that you hate to learn, but I feel like all the greatest lessons are the ones you hate to learn because that last loss really hit me.
“I’ve had the best camp, the best conditioning, and I’m going into this fight with a huge chip on my shoulder, which I feel like that’s when I perform and function the best. So, it’s been great for me, honestly. It sucks to take a loss to revamp me, but this is where I am and I’m happy for it.”
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That isn’t the only reason why “Killer Bee” will come into this matchup with a point to prove.
Despite being scheduled to participate in the historic ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix later this month, Phogat decided to face Nguyen in the meantime – with full confidence that she would emerge victorious.
That decision certainly rubbed “Killer Bee” the wrong way.
“I have a chip on my shoulder because of the timing and because of the opponent,” she says.
“I think that having me as a warmup fight for her before the Grand Prix is an insult to me, but I have to prove that.
“I’m nobody’s warmup fight, I’m nobody’s stepping stone. If you’re going to look for a warmup fight for somebody going into the Grand Prix, it shouldn’t have been me, and I’m going to prove that.”
Nguyen, who’s been preparing for this bout with a world-class team at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, USA, certainly respects the Indian’s chain-wrestling and finishing abilities. However, she also sees plenty of holes in Phogat’s game.
For instance, Nguyen believes her rival has difficulty transitioning from striking to takedowns. Moreover, she thinks Phogat’s chin is questionable and plans to test it like nobody has before.
Between all that and the immense fire burning deep within her, “Killer Bee” is determined to toss the massive chip off her shoulder, put on an impressive showcase, and hand “The Indian Tigress” her first professional blemish.
“I’m going to win this fight because I always had the skills to fight the top [contenders] and be in the top,” Nguyen says.
“I think I’ve let myself down a bunch of times [because I was] fighting harder and not smarter. Although that’s what made me popular, it’s what also gave me those close decision losses, that brawling and emotionally fighting. I think, right now, she’s meeting me at a great time for me, so it’s a bad time for her.”