Troy Worthen Delighted With Debut Win, But Admits He Has A Lot To Learn

Troy Worthen celebrates his defeat of Chen Rui at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY

It is unlikely you will see many more impressive ONE Championship debuts this year than Troy “Pretty Boy” Worthen’s performance at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY.

Last Friday, 12 July the American took on “The Ghost” Chen Rui and dominated the Chinese star to consign him to the first defeat of his professional career.

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Though it was only Worthen’s fifth professional mixed martial arts bout, he looked like he was ready to go on to great things in the bantamweight division thanks to his overwhelming wrestling offense and relentless ground and pound that took him to a second-round TKO.

After the Evolve representative had time to reflect on his victory in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he explains how he took out a dangerous opponent, how it feels to be 5-0, and how far he expects to go in The Home Of Martial Arts in 2019.

ONE Championship: How important was it to you, and how do you feel to get that debut win and stay undefeated?

Troy Worthen: It felt amazing to be in the arena. I think many people in Kuala Lumpur probably didn’t know who I was, but they were still cheering for me.

It felt great and I was really happy to be able to win and be part of an amazing event. I’m back in the gym training every day and just looking forward to my next fight and getting ready for it whenever that comes up. 


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ONE: What was your strategy? 

TW: I know my coaches probably hate to hear this, but I don’t really have a strategy going into the fight!

It’s mostly based on how I feel. I believe in living in the moment and enjoying it because if you don’t enjoy it, then why go through all the training camps and the preparations?

ONE: Did you plan to test yourself on the feet before you went for a takedown?

TW: Yeah, I definitely wanted to test my striking skills. I have been working really hard on my striking, so I wanted to test it out.

I want to use my striking, my grappling, my takedowns, I just want to be a complete martial artist. 

Troy Worthen battles Chen Rui at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY

ONE: Chen caught you for a second there in the first round. Were you surprised by his power? 

TW: It definitely caught me clean, it got my attention, but it wasn’t like my balance was off or my legs went out. 

It [didn’t force me to make] a big shift in the game plan, it was more like it just let me know – okay, he is dangerous there.

It wasn’t like I had to take him down and see how I felt on the ground. It was a slight adjustment that I needed to make, and when I went on the ground, it seemed to really be in my favor. Of course, when I got hit, I naturally wanted to get out of the fight healthy, so I just made a little adjustment.

It was a tactical mistake that I made. I went for a late kick, and my hands were by my waist, so he caught me, and I’m definitely drilling that in my training over the next few weeks to make sure that doesn’t happen again. 

Troy Worthen battles Chen Rui at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY

ONE: Were you surprised that Chen was resilient enough to hold out until the end of the first round? 

TW: I wasn’t really surprised that he could hold out. I was surprised by the damage he took and that he never [wilted] while fighting off his back – he was still throwing punches at me. 

But yeah, I definitely don’t think it was surprising. He’s a tough guy and a very tough competitor. You don’t get to 7-0 [with two bouts] in ONE without being a tough opponent.

I knew I was going to get a guy that wouldn’t quit, and that’s what I got, but thankfully I was able to get the win. 

ONE: What did your coach tell you before the second round? 

TW: To be honest, in the heat of the moment, I can’t quite remember exactly what he said, but I think he told me, ‘Let’s get back to the takedowns, let’s get back on top.’

I still wanted to test my striking a little bit more. I think I threw a few strikes before I went for the takedown, but I know people see me as a wrestler.

I have to expect those uppercuts and knees coming my way, and I wanted to get that respect in the standup game with my striking, but at some point, you just have to shut up and listen to your coaches!

Troy Worthen battles Chen Rui at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY

ONE: What was the first thing you did after the fight? 

TW: I wanted to go back to the ONE green room and see what food they had there for me! I mean, I’m a foodie so after the fight I just wanted to see what I could eat. 

ONE: What’s next for Troy Worthen

TW: I’m back in the gym, always training, getting ready for my next fight, looking forward to the next challenge, trying to get better, learning from the mistakes I made in the fight, improving on my game.

I’m not really into beating my opponents. To me, an opponent is just a faceless body. I focus more on getting better and competing with myself. Whoever shows up opposite me in the cage is irrelevant. 

Of course, once I get to the person holding the belt, that’s different because it’s a World Championship fight and I have to beat that guy, but until then, I’m just trying to get better. 

Troy Worthen celebrates his defeat of Chen Rui at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY

ONE: When and where would you like to compete again? 

TW: I want to get three fights in this year, I know that’s probably going to be really hard since ONE is probably fully booked for like three months. I know they have the Manila card and ONE: CENTURY in Japan too, but that’s probably all filled out.

I know there’s a Singapore card. It would be cool to fight in my adopted hometown, so I definitely want to do that if it’s possible. 

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