Freshly reignited following the biggest win of her career, Bi “Killer Bee” Nguyen has her sights firmly set on ascending the atomweight ranks in ONE Championship.
The Vietnamese-American snapped a three-fight skid in mixed martial arts competition, upsetting Ritu Phogat in May when she edged out a split decision victory. The win was the most significant of Nguyen’s career thus far, both in name value and the perspective she gained before and after competition.
“I learned that I was at a little plateau in my career and I needed something to light a fire under me and the Ritu [Phogat] matchup did just that,” Nguyen said.
“And now I’m only going up from here. I’m more motivated than ever, I’m hungrier than ever [the fight with Phogat] was great for me.”
Nguyen makes her return to action at ONE: BATTLEGROUND III, a tape-delayed event from the Singapore Indoor Stadium which airs this Friday, 27 August. Her next challenge will come in the form of Jenelyn Olsim, a rising star with four wins in six fights to her credit, including two submission finishes despite coming from a background in Muay Thai.
Hailing from the Philippines, Olsim holds a size and reach advantage over Nguyen, an obstacle that the latter has become accustomed to over the years. But with twice the amount of professional MMA experience, what Nguyen lacks in size she makes up for in know-how and newfound motivation.
“I never lost confidence, I’ve always fought the best of the best, I’ve always put on great performances,” Nguyen said.
“What the victory over Ritu did for me was give me momentum. I don’t think that’s the same thing as confidence. I’ve always believed in myself, always believed I was one of the best and could be the best one day. It was amazing for me emotionally and career wise as far as momentum and giving me that drive again.”
In step with her brimming confidence, Nguyen maintains a level-headed approach, recognizing the dangers that each new opponent possesses. When it comes to Olsim, “Killer Bee” has identified areas of concern as well as best practices to combat them.
Nguyen lauded Olsim’s toughness and ability to hit harder than the average atomweight. However, when it comes to speed, Nguyen expects to have a decided advantage over her foe, opening up various paths to victory for the Xtreme Couture product.
With a strong sense of self, Nguyen relishes in the clarity of mind she has achieved following her last bout, explaining the intricacies of the mindset that she intends to bring to the Circle in her upcoming matchup with Olsim.
“I have a good ego, I don’t have a bad ego. Which means I’m not here to prove anything to anyone and I know myself,” she said.
“There are things in my career I need to do… I need to keep winning, [defeat] new names, keep climbing the ranks so that I can get into title contention sometime.”
Win or lose, Nguyen does not foresee any need for the judges involvement. And with a matchup of athletes who tend to favor their striking, she anticipates the fight ending in spectacular fashion before the final bell sounds.
“Somebody’s going to get finished. If I really screw up and run into one of her power punches that’ll be my fault, but I don’t see that happening, I’ve trained against it. I really just think I’m going to drag her into deep waters and drown her.”
Early last week, it was announced that the winner of this bout will move on to face debuting American Grace Cleveland at ONE Championship’s historic all-women’s fight card, ONE: EMPOWER, on 3 September. That bout will serve as an alternate for the highly anticipated ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix.