Can Martin Nguyen Add a Third ONE Championship Title to His Collection?

If there’s been one constant for Australian Martin Nguyen in 2018, it is that his fights have been much closer than he wants.

First in a loss to Bibiano Fernandes in March, and a win in his most recent bout against Christian Lee in May, Nguyen has had to go to split decision; the only two times in his career he’s had to go the distance.

“Look, thinking and talking about that (Lee) fight gets me upset,” Nguyen told “Yes, we got the victory, but how the fight played out compared to how we usually fight were complete opposites.

“I was constantly coming forward, but unfortunately, was still yellow-carded. I just thought I had so much more to lose than Christian did, so I was waiting for the challenger to take out the champion, which never happened.”

Nguyen admits coming of a loss to Fernandes had him nervous when his bout against Lee also was ruled a split-decision.

“To be honest, yes, I was worried,” said Nguyen. “After hearing that the fight went to split decision again, my coaches and I went back to the change rooms and basically said we can’t do split decisions anymore, they’re too heart aching. Since then, we’re took it back old school.”

Nguyen (11-2) will look to get back to his finishing ways when he faces Kevin Belingon (18-5) in a 135-pound interim championship main event at ONE: Reign of Kings on Friday in Manila.

“I think fighting for this interim title adds excitement and adds hunger,” Nguyen said. “Who wants this rematch with Bibiano more: Kevin or myself? Come July 27, it’s one step closer to redeeming our losses.

“In terms of Kevin, I think he is an exciting fighter to watch. I’m actually a fan of his fighting style. I think Coach Mark (Sangiao) has evolved these young lions at Team Lakay into complete Martial Artists.”

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Having maintained a busy schedule since his career in 2012, Nguyen wants to keep his activity level up to close out 2018.

“I told myself at the start of the year I wanted to stay as active as possible providing there’s no injuries after my bouts,” said Nguyen. “While my body is young and healthy, I’d like to enjoy every moment possible in that ONE Championship cage.

“I see myself defending both (ONE) lightweight and featherweight titles again by year’s end, also unifying this belt with Bibiano should I win it. As I said, I want to be an active champion, regardless of results.”

Martin Nguyen’s Knockout Power

(Video courtesy of ONE Championship)