Former UFC champions Eddie Alvarez and Demetrious Johnson are far and away the biggest free agent signings ONE Championship has ever made. Both fighters have the potential to become dominant champions in their respective divisions, as well as lucrative stars for the promotion —much like Myanmar’s Aung La N Sang.
Aung La N Sang, who currently holds the ONE Championship middleweight and light heavyweight belts, is one of the biggest and best established stars to emerge from the Singapore-based promotion.
Shortly after a Wednesday afternoon press conference in Singapore, Aung La N Sang drew on his experience as a ONE Championship star and offered up a bit of advice to the new signees Alvarez and Johnson, who have yet to make their promotional debuts.
“Just go out there and put on a show,” the ONE two-division champ told BJPENN.COM’s Tom Taylor. “The fans here are fanatics. They love combat sports. They truly love the martial arts. If you show heart, and if you put on a show, you’re going to get that same reaction from the crowd every single time, and the audience will appreciate that.”
Like most members of the MMA community, Aung La N Sang feels that both Eddie Alvarez and Demetrious Johnson will fit in very well in ONE Championship.
“Oh man, they’ll fit in so well,” he said. “They’re both respectful, they always come out and they always put on a show.”
Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez, it was announced at Wednesday’s press conference, will both make their ONE Championship debuts in upcoming Grand Prix tournaments. For Aung La N Sang, it did not take long for the jealousy to seep in. He says he would love to compete in a ONE middleweight grand prix in the future because it would allow him to satisfy his competitive urges and show off the constant evolution of his skillset.
“That would be amazing, if they had a grand prix for the middleweight [division],” he said. “I’ve always been wanting to do that. I’d be super interested. I train with the best right now, and I feel like I’m so hungry. Every fight — the previous fight is just scratching the surface. There’s a lot that’s going to come out of me.”
“Every day I’m improving so much more, exponentially.”
While Aung La N Sang is hoping to compete in a ONE middleweight grand prix in the future, his first priority is getting back in the cage to defend his titles again. He’s hoping that he’ll get that chance early in the New Year.
“Early next year,” he said. “I don’t like long breaks, and I want to keep improving every single fight.”
Five of Aung La N Sang’s last six fights have occurred in Yangon, the biggest city in his native Myanmar. While it’s more than likely his next bout also occurs in the Myanmarese metropolis, he says he welcomes the opportunity to fight elsewhere, too.
“I would love to fight somewhere else,” he said. “There’s a lot of pressure [laughs]. I’m telling you, there’s a lot of pressure when you fight for the hometown crowd.”
Do you think Eddie Alvarez and Demetrious Johnson can realize the same success as Aung La N Sang under the ONE Championship banner?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/7/2018.