Aung La N Sang doesn’t wait to be hunted, he hunts the next challenge

Aung La N Sang, ONE Championship

Aung La N Sang is not like other champions. Many titleholders allow themselves to be challenged for their respective world titles. 

Despite holding both the ONE Light Heavyweight and Middleweight World Titles, Aung La is still hunting for the best challenges. That’s why it’s no surprise to see “The Burmese Python” calling for a title defense against undefeated middleweight prospect Reinier de Ridder.

“Everybody, all the contenders at middleweight, that’s still the plan,” Aung La said per South China Morning Post. 

“I wanna take them out. You know what’s funny is Reinier after he won in Malaysia called me out. So I have something for him. If he wants to do it we can get it done.”

Aung La is currently recovering from surgery on his thumb. He suffered the injury during his one-sided performance over the ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera at ONE: Century in October. 

Originally, Aung La wanted to compete one more time in 2019, but the injury sidelined him. As of now, it appears he will probably return some time during the first half of 2020. If de Ridder is the opposition he faces, martial arts fans could be treated to a spectacular bout.

De Ridder is one of the rising stars in the promotion.

The 29-year-old from the Netherlands is a perfect 11-0 as a professional mixed martial artist, and he’s had a finish in each of his bouts. Eight of the wins have come by submission, which appears to be his specialty. However, he’s also proven to possess some heavy hands as well. He’s finished three opponents with strikes. 

De Ridder made his ONE debut in January when he scored a first-round submission victory over Fan Rong. He followed that up with a second-round TKO victory over Gilberto Galvao in June. De Ridder has the look of a future champion, but it remains to be seen if his time is now or if he will become the latest man to fall short of handing Aung La a defeat. 

Aung La is currently experiencing a monumental run with ONE. 

The 34-year-old has won seven bouts in a row. In fact, he hasn’t lost to anyone since June 2017, and he has remained active. The last man to beat Aung La was former ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash. The Russian powerhouse is vying for a rubber match with Aung La in 2020.

Bigdash will probably collide with Leandro Ataides in 2020 with the winner likely receiving a shot at Aung La. If that’s the case,  it appears Aung La is ready for that challenge as well.

“I know Leandro [Ataides] and [Vitaly] Bigdash are going at it. I’d like to fight the winner as well. Anybody in the middleweight division, I’m down,” Aung La said. 

If he can emerge from 2020 with both of his belts around his waist, especially considering the quality of opponents lining up to face him, Aung La N Sang will be all the more respected.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/22/2020.