‘Happy, Appreciative’ – Martin Nguyen Ready To Roar Back At ONE: LIGHTS OUT

Mar 2, 2022
Martin Nguyen enters the Singapore Indoor Stadium

Martin Nguyen feels like he’s in a good place to bounce back from the toughest skid of his mixed martial arts career.

The former two-division ONE World Champion has suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time ever, but he’s also gained a new perspective on his priorities before facing Kirill Gorobets at ONE: LIGHTS OUT.

That outlook has taken “The Situ-Asian” back home to Sydney, Australia – instead of his usual training center at Sanford MMA in Florida, USA – where he’s prepared for the featherweight matchup with Gorobets on Friday, 11 March.

Nguyen explained:

“The timing wasn’t right. I just had to be [in Australia] for some family stuff that’s going on. I had to be here for them, put my family first. The training hasn’t stopped. I’m training two times a day, seven days a week. It’s been a constant grind, and I’ve been able to learn new things as well. So a bit different to the grind in Florida, but it’s been a blessing, so I can’t complain.”

They say a happy fighter is a dangerous fighter, and Nguyen certainly fits that bill.

Instead of viewing his inability to train in the United States as a negative, the four-time featherweight king is looking at the positives of being at home. 

The 33-year-old has honed his skills with coaches in boxing, kickboxing, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and more importantly, he’s gotten to spend more time around his loved ones.

Nguyen said:

“I just surrounded myself with the people that really believed in me, who really believed in the skill set that I have, and really believe that I can still perform at this type of level. So it sparked a bit more motivation. And spending more family time, that’s the main thing. Being at home really, really pushes me to do better. Being in Florida, I still have the same drive, but usually when I go to sleep at night, it’s more of a lonely feel. My heart is full when I’m home.

“I was in that black hole after two big losses, and I was questioning everything when it came to this career. But appreciation man, being able to still do this job, still being able to provide for my family and train and do the sport that I love the most. That’s the main thing. I’m actually happy and I’m appreciative of everything that’s happened in my life right now.”

Martin Nguyen Expecting ‘Dogfight’ Against Kirill Gorobets

Kirill Gorobets will be making his ONE Championship debut at ONE: LIGHTS OUT, and Martin Nguyen is expecting a tough battle against the Ukrainian rising star. 

With an 11-1 record and a nine-bout winning streak, Gorobets will carry a lot of momentum into this clash. Moreover, the 28-year-old can finish fights in every area, racking up five knockouts and three submissions.

But while his opponent has proven to be dangerous en route to joining ONE, “The Situ-Asian” feels prepared for anybody and refuses to be intimidated.

Nguyen said:

“I think he’s a great fighter. I think he’s a great athlete in general. He’s built up his record, and he’s made the big leagues now. But I don’t think he’s fought anyone that has been in the big leagues at all, so it’s a good test for him, and it’s a good test for me.

“I think he’s already [shown] how dangerous he is by his record, 11-1. A lot of people wouldn’t want to fight someone like that. But for me, I’m all for challenges. I’m not the one to call people out, but whoever’s name is on that contract, I’ll sign it, no matter what. Regardless of where the fight goes, I’m happy with the matchup, and it has actually made me more focused than ever.”

Although Nguyen is known as a heavy hitter, his fresh outlook means that he doesn’t feel pressured to come back with a knockout against the promotional newcomer. 

He envisions a scrappy, hard-fought encounter against another well-rounded adversary, but getting back on the winning track is the top priority.

And if the Ukrainian thinks he’s going up against the former World Champion at a good time, he’d better think again.

Nguyen added:

“I’m just focused on getting the win. That’s the main thing, in any manner possible, however it comes. I just have to win in every position. I just need to get that ‘W’ back to get the ball rolling and start making my way back to the top, but my next opponent is my speed bump right now.

“At the end of the day, it’s going to be a dogfight. Because I’ve lost my last two fights by knockout, he is probably going to think that he’s going to knock me out too, [but] I’m a hard fight for anybody that signs a contract.”

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