China has a deep and rich history when it comes to martial arts. Over centuries, the Chinese have developed hundreds of styles of combat that fall under more the popular disciplines of Wushu and Kung Fu.
On a mainstream standpoint, Chinese stars like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li have all become popular all over the world after brining their martial arts skills onto the silver screen.
These have made China one of the Asian countries synonymous to martial arts. Recently, China has also made gigantic strides in the world of mixed martial arts.
Earlier this year, the first mixed martial arts world champion was crowned, with “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan capturing the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship in clinical and dismantling fashion against previously-undefeated Singaporean Tiffany Teo back in January.
Already with two successful title defenses this year, including a dominant knockout win over Brazilian champion Samara “Marituba” Santos in Shanghai in early September, Xiong is set to take on the biggest challenge of her career when she puts the ONE Women’s Strawweight Championship on the line against reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight Champions Angela Lee in a champion-versus-champion clash in Singapore this November.
A win over Lee not only makes it three successful title defenses for Xiong in 2018, but it will also help put Chinese mixed martial arts on the map.
While Xiong, being a world champion, has the biggest platform to help elevate the state of the sport in China, there are a handful of other Chinese mixed martial artists who are helping the cause as well.
Among them is Chinese flyweight sensation “The Southern Eagle” Ma Hao Bin.
The Nanchang, China-based grappler has had an impressive run on the ONE Championship stage, piling a remarkable 6-1 win-loss standing in the promotion.
The ONE Changsha Bantamweight Tournament Champion will look to make it seven wins under the organization’s umbrella when he meets former ONE Flyweight World Champion Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES on Saturday, 22 September in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Before becoming one of China’s most promising mixed martial artists, Ma was an elite Greco-Roman wrestler who went on to become a Chinese National Wrestling Champion.
In 2016, Ma took the leap into mixed martial arts and immediately made a splash in ONE Championship, winning his first two bouts via submission with a combined time of just one minute and 35 seconds.
Now with a professional record of 11-3, Ma is looking to bounce back from his most recent defeat, and his next test against Akhmetov, a former world champion, is arguably his toughest to date.
For the 24-year old Chinese prodigy, it’s simply part of the journey as he tries to follow the footsteps of Xiong and become a world champion as well.
“I did not reach all of my goals in wrestling, so that is why I am chasing my dreams in the cage now,” Ma shared on ONE Championship’s official website.
Reaching that level of success, Ma believes that his current stature will not only help take his career to new heights, but also help the martial arts scene in China as well.
“I hope to see martial artists have a great future in China, so that more people will get to know and love martial arts,” he expressed.
Competing in the biggest martial arts organization in the world will surely help, and Ma is out to make the most of that opportunity.
“I want more people around me to know about martial arts through my efforts, and that means I am working for the honor of my country,” he declared.