Aung La Nsang was watching ONE 166. He saw Anatoly Malykhin defeat Reinier de Ridder in Qatar to become the new middleweight champion, the crown he used to wear.

La Nsang wants that belt back and he wants one more run at the middleweight title before retiring,

“That’s the only reason why I keep fighting, to be champion again. That’s the only reason why I’m fighting still. I could retire now, but it wouldn’t be fun. It wouldn’t be fun for the ONE Championship middleweight division.”


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Bad matchup

La Nsang already has two losses to de Ridder on his record and neither fight was particularly close. He has some sympathy for the Dutchman but says it is clear that Malykhin has his number,

“It was a great fight. It went as I expected. We all know how some people can be stylistically a bad matchup for a certain fighter, and it doesn’t really matter what you do in a year’s time. Some people are just stylistically a bad matchup.”

La Nsang is confident he would fare better against Malykhin and says that it is guaranteed to be an entertaining fight,

“If we were to fight, there’s no way that any of us would back down, and we’ll put on a great show. Think about it – every fight that I fight, I fight for the finish. Every fight that he fights, he fights for the finish. There would be no yellow card in that fight. It would for sure be a barnburner for the fans.”


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Top contender

Six weeks ago La Nsang announced he had signed a new deal with ONE Championship. He is 38 but has won his last three fights and is still a top contender in the middleweight division.

La Nsang has made it clear he won’t return to light heavyweight despite having previously held that title. He believes there is time for one last run at the middleweight belt and hopes to face Malykhin,

“I don’t care how long it takes, I’m still gunning for the title. And it’s one of those things that I don’t need to be in this sport anymore, but I want to be because I still have that hunger.”

Having achieved so much over so many years that hunger is essential. La Nsang still has it and is determined to wear the gold one more time before walking away from the sport,

“I still want to be champion again, and I still want to put on great shows for the fans. My job as a professional fighter is not done.”