A word of advice for any potential opponent of ONE Championship superstar Martin Nguyen – avoid the trash talk.
When it comes to the realm of combat, the ONE Featherweight World Champion prides himself on embodying the values of humility, honor, and respect that ONE Championship hangs its hat on – the booming Asia-based promotion is steadfast in its commitment to the purity of martial arts.
“Everything they’re doing is on the right track,” says Nguyen.
“They’re promoting the right things, not just promoting fights through the animosity. You don’t have to attack people’s parents and families to bring numbers in for your fights. That’s the best thing about ONE is that’s not what they’re about.
“They’re about two athletes who have the utmost respect for their martial arts and for each other and are putting it all on the line. That’s what I love the most,” he continued.
The 30-year-old has consistently seen boundaries well and truly crossed in pre-match hype across other promotions, and he admits if he was ever on the end of such talk it certainly wouldn’t be dismissed as ‘selling the fight’.
“If I was ever in that situation I think I’d take it so personally, I don’t care if it’s business or whatever. After the fight, I’d be waiting for you outside your house. I don’t take that lightly. That’s serious,” said Nguyen.
When you hear Nguyen speak of his motivations, it’s easy to see why he puts such a premium on respect.
“I sacrificed my whole 20’s basically for my family – providing for them and putting food on the table, giving them the best of the best no matter what. It’s all about setting them up, as well as setting up my legacy,” Nguyen explains.
Not only is his family his motivation, but they’re also his means of keeping grounded and provide a way for him to stay mentally fresh and sharp.
“They’re the people that keep me level, so I’m not over-confident or going to a point where I have to psych myself up to better myself.
“I just keep it nice and simple, have true and honest people around me and you know it’s all real with the people you hang out with. They’re not talking you up just to make you feel better, they’re talking the truth,” he added.
That recipe has led to a ton of success for the Vietnamese-Australian, and you can be sure he’ll stick to the same tried and tested formula when he defends his ONE Featherweight World Championship against Koyomi Matsushima at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES in Manila on August 2.
“He’s very elusive and he’s very explosive. He’s got that karate style stance and he’s got good kicks on him and as he’s shown he has KO power. I’ve just got to be me and do my thing. Implement my game and everything will fall into place,” Nguyen concluded.