ONE Championship are currently setting up a stacked card for October with a return expected for one of their biggest stars, Aung La N Sang.
Aung La trains at Sanford MMA in Florida and has been restricted from competing by the pandemic and the various travel restrictions in place.
ONE CEO, Chatri Sityodtong suggests that the promotion have found a solution and that the Burmese icon will defend his middleweight title against the Dutch contender, Reinier De Ridder. Speaking to Nick Atkin from SCMP Sityodtong said,
‘There’s some big things happening, we’ve been working with a lot of governments. You’re gonna see some really cool stuff coming out of ONE Championship in the coming weeks.’
‘Aung La will be defending his title. His first opponent he was gonna defend against before the pandemic was Reinier, the undefeated Dutch fighter, but he was injured from his last fight, and that’s why we went with Vitaly Bigdash.’
EXCLUSIVE! ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong joins SCMP MMA's Post Fight to break some big news regarding the…
De Ridder has a 12-0 record and has won three straight since arriving in ONE in 2019. Aung La is 26-10 and is both the middleweight and light heavyweight champion. His last bout was a successful defence of the latter against Brandon Vera back in October 2019. Aung La is riding a 7-fight winning streak with his last loss coming against Bigdash in their first meeting in 2017. Chatri suggested that a trilogy bout between the pair will be on the cards sometime in the future.
‘Both are worthy opponents. People want to see a trilogy with Bigdash, they’re one apiece, that’s a big fight. But Reinier, that’s gonna be a really interesting fight for Aung La as well.’
Travel restrictions are still very much in place, particularly for people coming from the US to Asia. It will be interesting to see what solutions ONE have found to get their big-name US-based fighters over to Asia. Aung La tested positive for Covid-19 himself back in July, but looks to have bounced back strongly and was recently seen sparring with Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson.
According to Chatri, Aung La’s return is just the tip of the iceberg and there will be several other big fights announced soon.
‘The global stars are back, we’re gonna have some mega cards coming up – a lot of fun stuff, whether it’s MMA, Muay Thai, Kickboxing.’
If all goes to plan, which ONE fighters are you most keen to see back in action next month?