One of Muay Thai’s all-time greats will return to The Home Of Martial Arts in the main event of ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH next Friday, 6 September.
When ONE Championship arrives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for the first time, all-conquering ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao will attempt to make the second defense of his belt against Brice “The Truck” Delval.
The event will also break new ground for the world’s largest martial arts organization as its first all-ONE Super Series show, and the Thai superstar is excited to showcase his country’s martial art on such a momentous night.
“I am excited to perform in the main event in Vietnam. I want to show the people there beautiful Muay Thai, as there might be some spectators there who have never seen it before,” he says.
“I want to make the fight as exciting as possible, but it is also important to me to display beautiful Muay Thai technique.
“We need to protect the techniques. A lot of fighters forget the correct and true techniques of the sport. It is important we preserve them. Muay Thai has a lot of amazing techniques. It is important for me to show my students too, I want to display what I teach in the ring.”
The representative of Evolve in Singapore boasts a phenomenal record of 259-54-1, which along with four Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai World Titles made him a legend of the sport.
Since he joined ONE, he has built a perfect 4-0 record and captured the greatest prize of his career – the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Championship – and he turned his first challenger away when he dominated Hiroaki “Kaibutsukun” Suzuki over five rounds to win a unanimous decision in May.
The 32-year-old recognizes his next contender will be no pushover.
“The Truck” trains alongside ONE Super Series star Elias “The Sniper” Mahmoudi at Mahmoudi Gym in France, and though he is just 20, he is an S1 World Champion with a 33-5 record.
However, though Nong-O will not overlook any opponent – especially a young and hungry athlete in the biggest match of his career – he is sure he will have too much in his locker for the Algerian.
“His weakness would be his lack of experience and inability to problem-solve in the ring,” he explains.
“He’s going to be taller and bigger. I’ll need to keep my guard up. He comes from a kickboxing background, so I expect him to have fast hands.
“I’m in really great shape. It gives me a lot of confidence going into the match.”
Nong-O is also driven to entertain fans with a highlight-reel finish. Though he has turned in a quartet of sensational performances in ONE, he has yet to win via knockout.
Having competed in “the art of eight limbs” for more than two decades, he knows that stoppages do not come easily – especially against the kind of world-class opposition he will be up against – but he is determined to give the judges the night off on 6 September at the Phu Tho Indoor Stadium.
“I want to win every fight by KO, but it is all about that opportunity. Sometimes people who watched ask me why I didn’t knock my opponent out, but I had actually tried!” he says.
“Watching from the outside is different than being in there. I will try in this fight. I want the knockout, but I won’t let myself be careless.”
Even if he does not achieve a big finish, Nong-O always puts on a show, and he promises another exciting match from start to finish to prove that he is still at the top of his game.
“I don’t want people to look at me and think I am too old, or that I have gotten slower. I don’t want people talking about me like that – I want to preserve my legacy,” he says.
“I have to do my best for the Thai people, and keep this belt for the Thai people.”
Ho Chi Minh City | 6 September | 7PM | ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneimmortal19