Aung La Nsang is not looking to recapture the light heavyweight title he lost at ONE on TNT Part IV this week. After a second successive loss to Reinier de Ridder the Burmese star says his future lies in the middleweight division,
“I’m done with light heavyweight. I’m going down to middleweight after this. I’m a middleweight now. I’m down to compete against anybody but to be the best version of myself I think middleweight should be my home,” he said.
It is a decision that La Nsang has come to over a period of time rather than an instinctive reaction to a devastatingly disappointing defeat. In fact he has been questioning whether he has a home at light heavyweight for the past two years,
“Since 2019 when I fought Brandon (Vera). It was a hard training camp and middleweight is easier, it suits my body a lot better. My frame isn’t a light heavyweight frame.”
After the fight de Ridder called out Brandon Vera, who now trains alongside La Nsang at Sanford MMA. The 35 year old thinks his team mate should be the one to drop down a division in order to make this match happen,
“Brandon should fight for the light heavyweight belt against him. I think, stylistically, Brandon is a bad matchup for Reinier (because) Brandon has got great takedown defence, he did Greco Wrestling at almost an Olympic level. I think Reinier is biting off more than he can chew.”
However La Nsang also acknowledged that de Ridder was a stylistic nightmare for him,
“Reinier is a bad matchup for me. I’ve always had issues with longer guys that want to grapple.”
The disappointment was written all over his face but he is still keen to get back inside the circle as soon as possible,
“The damage is superficial, so I don’t need much time off. I’m healthy, I’ll be back in training Monday. I want to do two or three more fights this year if ONE allows me to.”
La Nsang actually fared much better against de Ridder second time around. Having been choked out in the opening round by the Dutchman at ONE: ‘Inside the Matrix’ he was able to survive numerous submission attempts this week but it was no consolation to the man from Myanmar, who lost by decision.
Despite having already faced de Ridder he admits to being ‘surprised’ by just how good the Dutchman’s ground game is,
“I was surprised how tight he was in every position, he didn’t give much space at all. Technically very sound on the grappling side. I need to put a little more time in on the ground game.”
So what is next for La Nsang? He hopes to fight two or three more times this year and there are plenty of middleweight matchups out there.
He has originally been scheduled to face Vitaly Bigdash for the third time this week but the Russian tested positive for Covid-19. That is a matchup that la Nsang would be very interested in
“The Bigdash trilogy match would be exciting,” he said.
He finds himself without a title for the first time since 2017. Recapturing the middleweight belt is the ultimate goal for La Nsang now and his plan is a simple one,
“Go back down to middleweight, stay active for this year.”