EXCLUSIVE | Two-weight ONE champion Martin Nguyen discusses his dream fights

Martin Nguyen, who owns the ONE lightweight and featherweight titles, is currently scheduled for an interim bantamweight title fight with Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon on July 27 in Manila. If he wins this bout with Belingon, he’ll be the owner of a whopping three ONE titles — but don’t expect him to rest on his laurels.

Nguyen is always looking for exciting new opportunities in the ONE cage, at bantamweight, featherweight, and lightweight. To that end, one of the most exciting possibilities on his horizon is a potential fight with Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki.

“I think it would be a good match,” Nguyen said on a recent episode of BJPENN.COM Radio, discussing Aoki. “It’d be that grappler [vs. striker matchup], but a lot of people underestimate my ground game, so I think I could surprise for everyone. But in terms of fighting Shinya, man, it would only be an honor. He’s one of the world’s best and one of the most elite athletes out there. It would be an honor to be going up against Shinya.

“In terms of my legacy I only want to fight the best guys, man,” he continued. “Shinya’s top of the ranks when it comes to these guys, regardless of all these up-and-comers who deem themselves number one contenders. In terms of Shinya Aoki, he’s done his time. All he needs is one successful victory and he’s number-one contender. Fighting someone like Shinya, it only builds on to the legacy that I’m building.”

Nguyen is also keen on a rematch with ONE undisputed bantamweight champ Bibiano Fernandes, who he lost a split decision to back in March.

“Oh yeah, Bibiano, that split decision,” he said. “If I were champion and I had just won by a split decision and it wasn’t decisively enough, I’d need a rematch, man, to take him down decisively and prove that I am the most dominant champion. But that’s me in my position. But in terms of Bibiano, a win’s a win for him. I’m sure he’ll be looking to move forward, but I’ll be gunning for that title no matter what.”

While Martin Nguyen has some very exciting options inside the ONE cage, he’s also interested in challenging some of the stars of other promotions — particularly, the UFC’s top three bantamweights.

“The top three guys I would like to fight would be the guys that I love to watch the most,” he said. “The most exciting fighters, which is Cody Garbrandt, TJ Dillashaw, and Dominick Cruz. They’re legends of the sport, they’re the most dominant at the moment, and as I said, I want to test myself against the best.”

Which fighters do you want to see ONE two-weight world champion Martin Nguyen fight in the future?

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/11/2018.