Steven Nguyen focused on himself heading into EFC 11 title defense

April 12, 2019

Since turning pro in April of 2016, featherweight up and comer Steven Nguyen has performed just about as well as anyone could want to.

In five victories, Nguyen has managed to finish all but one his opponents, culminating in picking up an Evolution Fighting Championship 145-pound title.

“Every single fight I’ve evolved,” Nguyen told MMAWeekly.com. “I’ve learned a lot. I’m so much better than I was even just in my last fight.

“I took a little bit of a layoff, pretty much a year, but I’ve trained my ass off. I’ve improved so much that I feel like I’m at that level that I need to be. I’m ready to keep these fights going. Instead of taking these long layoffs, I’m ready to fight back-to-back and get the ball rolling more now.”

Having spent the last year not having to do multiple fight camps has been beneficial according to Nguyen. It’s allowed him to make the improvements in his game that he otherwise can’t during fight camp.

“Because of the off season I get to focus a little bit more on what I need to work on personally, because when I’m training I’m cutting weight, dieting, and drawing game plans out that I have to stick to,” said Nguyen.

“At the end of the day I’m getting better all around when I’m fighting, when in training camp, but when I’m in the off season I get to focus a little bit more on myself and take my time with it and improve my game all the way though.”

On Saturday in Mulvane, Kansas, Nguyen (5-0) will look to defend his title for a second time when he faces Brandon Bailey (3-2) in the 145-pound championship main event of EFC 11.

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“I know he’s a legit grappler, and that’s the only thing I really know about him,” Nguyen said of Bailey. “I feel like he’s a tough challenge; he’s a tough guy; but at the end of the day I try not to worry too much about my opponents. I focus on myself.

“I know that I’m better than him everywhere. I’m going to in there and do what I do. I’m going to go in there and try and finish the fight, but at the same time I’ll be ready for a five-round war.”

While Nguyen likes to take things one step at a time, he would like to see himself move up to the next level of his career before 2019 closes out.

“My next fight is always my most important fight, but hopefully this year is the year I make it to the UFC,” said Nguyen.

“I have a great (management) agency and a great team behind me, with them pushing me hard and we keep winning, winning will take care of everything. I’ve just got to keep fighting hard, grinding hard, taking it fight by fight knowing my time will come.”