After successfully launching his professional mixed martial arts career in the United States, Troy “Pretty Boy” Worthen is now bringing his efforts to Asia and the global stage of ONE Championship.
Both athletes will enter the bantamweight match-up undefeated, but the American intends to leave the Malaysian capital with a statement-making victory and his perfect record intact.
“I think I deserved to be on the world stage for a little while now,” the Lakeland, Florida native says. “I’m just excited to show everybody what I can do, and show them why I deserve to be there, so expect fireworks.”
Worthen, who holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, comes from a decorated collegiate wrestling background. He competed for the University Of Central Florida, where he became an NCWA All-American and an NCWA Southeastern Conference Champion.
Following his graduation in 2011, he embarked on a mixed martial arts career and turned professional four years later. Since then, “Pretty Boy” has amassed a 4-0 slate, with a knockout victory and submission win to his name.
Although Worthen brings plenty of bonafide grappling experience into his ONE debut, he believes himself to be a well-rounded competitor and will not hesitate to display his striking.
“I think my fighting style is more free flow,” the 26-year-old says.
“I tell a lot of people that I have an idea of what I want to do when I go into a fight, but I never want a straight game plan where I’ll just go for takedowns or I’m just going to strike with this person. I just adjust on the fly, depending on what I’m feeling that night.
“I train everything, I do this every day, and I do this because I love it, so I don’t want to not enjoy the fight. For me, the fight is where I need to go have fun.”
Ahead of his grand premiere, the American is training at his new gym home, Evolve.
Worthen initially found his way to Singapore after earning a spot on the Evolve Fight Team by way of the gym’s first-ever global tryouts back in November.
Now a full-fledged member, he is enjoying the fruits of his labor by sharpening his skills alongside the prestigious instructor team of World Champions.
“It’s definitely made it a lot more streamlined, having just a constant plethora of World Champions that have different knowledge from different sports always in the same room,” he explains.
“I can look to the right, and I have a Jiu-Jitsu World Champion to answer all my questions about grappling, and I look to the left, and I have a Muay Thai World Champion that can help me with clinching and striking.
“It’s given me a lot more options all at the same place, which makes learning a lot easier.”
The American’s first bout in The Home Of Martial Arts will be anything but easy, however. He will be facing an opponent who, like him, has never tasted defeat in his professional mixed martial arts career.
Chen, a ONE Jakarta Bantamweight Tournament Champion, made a triumphant return to the world’s largest martial arts organization in March.
While “The Ghost” had not appeared in the promotion since winning the aforementioned single-night tournament back in August 2016, he clearly did not lose his winning touch. He defeated Guam’s Roman “Boom” Alvarez via second-round TKO at ONE: REIGN OF VALOR.
The 22-year-old Chinese athlete will look to build on his momentum and hand Worthen the first blemish of his professional career, but the American is not fazed by his rival’s skill set.
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As a matter of fact, “Pretty Boy” plans to impose his will and use this bout to elevate his status on the global stage.
“It looks like he’s a boxer – he likes to strike and he likes to throw a lot of power. He looks good, but I think at this level, you expect everyone to be good,” Worthen says.
“I’m not looking for easy fights. I’m not scared to challenge myself, so him being an undefeated young fighter is all the same to me.
“It doesn’t matter who it is, I’m going to train my hardest and try my best to get as good as I can. I focus on myself – I don’t want to focus too much on my opponents. So yeah, I’m glad he’s game, as it gives me a bigger spotlight to shine.”