Asia MMA Awards: One Championship star Martin Nguyen eyes Hong Kong hat-trick
The 29-year-old from Australia is ‘truly honoured’ to be among the front runners for Male Fighter of the Year at Friday night’s ceremony at PMQ
One Championship star Martin Nguyen fell just short in his bid to become a triple titleholder this summer, but he could be taking home a hat-trick of statuettes at Friday night’s Asia MMA Awards in Hong Kong.
The 29-year-old from Sydney, Australia (MMA record 11-3-0) lost a decision to Kevin Belingon in July for the One interim bantamweight world championship, but it took nothing away from what has been a stellar 12 months.
And the dual featherweight and lightweight champion will be one of the front runners to pick up the Male Fighter of the Year, Fight of the Year and Knockout of the Year awards at the Qube at PMQ in Soho, Central.
“I’m truly honoured man,” Nguyen told the South China Morning Post. “It’s all part of the journey. To be able to be recognised Asia wide and having a platform like this, it’s huge. It’ll be a fun night.
“Asian MMA has always been huge from my perspective, there are some massive fighters coming out of Asia.
“They just basically needed that platform to spread their journey. Being a part of One Championship, it’s allowed me to reach out to across Asia.”
There will be plenty of other big names from across Asian MMA in the house on Friday, including local stars Ramona Pasqual, Alain Ngalani, Max Leali, Rodrigo Caporal and Charlene Houghton.
Also attending will be the UFC’s Korean bantamweight star Kang “Mr Perfect” Kyung-ho and No 12 flyweight Ben Nguyen, as well as UFC Asia vice-president Kevin Chang and former UFC star Ham Seo-hee, now champion of Road FC in Korea.
Other award categories include Female Fighter of the Year, Event of the Year, and Submission of the Year.
Whatever the outcome on the awards stage, Nguyen – nicknamed the “Situ-Asian” – is itching to get back to competing in the cage for One Championship.
“It was a tough decision loss to Belingon, but it is what it is,” he said. “When it came to the fight, it wasn’t my time, I guess, to become a three-time champ.
“But One Championship has allowed me to chase my dreams. It’s been a blessing, now I’m happy that I’m back to doing what I do best, defending what I rightfully earned.
“I’m hoping to try and get one more bout by the end of the year. It’s all about the body and the mind for now. I know I’m mentally fit to fight.
“I’m just trying to reap most of the benefits that have happened through the last 12 months, it’s been a roller-coaster ride.
“I’ve had five title fights in 12 months – I don’t think that’s ever been heard of in MMA. These awards will not only spread my name but add a bit of confidence to the next bout.”
Nguyen came to Hong Kong briefly two years ago, but only on a stopover on his way to Macau where he submitted Christian Lee via guillotine choke in round one.
This time he has been making sure to get in some sightseeing with his wife.
“In terms of coming to Hong Kong Island, I’ve never came before so it’s a bit of a surprise, it’s cool,” Nguyen said.
“We checked out Ocean Park, it was heaps of fun, we got to spend the whole day there. I want to go to Victoria Peak, all my mates back home are telling me I gotta go there before I leave.”