Nguyen has lost her last two MMA fights by decision. But the 30 year old is still eyeing up the top atomweights on the roster and wants a shot at a two time title challenger,
“It’s no secret that I’ve been wanting to fight Mei Yamaguchi. She’s top-ranked and I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time. It’s going to be one of those times in your life where your idols become your opposition.”
Nguyen seems very confident that this fight will eventually happen,
“Mei is such a well-oiled machine. She’s so well-rounded everywhere. She has so much experience in striking, wrestling, and grappling. But I just think I’m more dynamic and aggressive,” she said.
The Vietnamese atomweight also sees it as a very winnable fight,
“I think the edge I would have in this fight is more dynamic striking and the fact people haven’t seen everything from me. The fans have seen a lot of striking from me, but they haven’t seen everything that I can do. And we’ve seen almost everything Mei can do because she’s been around for so long and fought top-ranked fighters for a long time.”
Nguyen has been scheduled to face Hirata at ONE: ‘Warrior’s Code’. She had to pull out due to an injury and is surprised to hear the Japanese fighter calling for a fight with her,
“She’s been on social media calling me out to fight. I’ve signed the contract to fight her before, so that’s silly. She’s just calling me out right now to avoid fighting Stamp,” Nguyen said.
Both Hirata and Nguyen are currently unranked. But while the latter is looking to take on a top contender the former is looking to pick and choose atomweights from outside the top five.
Thats how Nguyen sees it anyway. She accuses Hirata of avoiding the tough fights,
“What concerned me about the Itsuki call out though is that she said she’s not yet ready for Stamp Fairtex, but she wants to fight me. I find that a little insulting,” she said.
Nguyen has already faced Stamp. She dropped a decision to the multiple time Muay Thai champion at ONE: ‘Masters of Fate’ and says she is willing to face absolutely anyone in the atomweight division,
“Definitely, if ONE chooses to put me against Itsuki again I would accept it. But the fight I want right now is with Mei Yamaguchi.”
She is based in the US which means it might be a while before we see her on a ONE Championship card. But when the time comes to compete again Nguyen says she will be ready,
“I’m staying in shape. I’m running, I’m doing home workouts and I’ve been hitting the bag. I just haven’t been doing full contact training,” she said.
Without the intensity associated with a fight camp Nguyen says it has been a valuable opportunity to make adjustments and hone her technique,
“There are times where you’re going hard during a fight camp and you’re not focusing on the small things so right now is a great opportunity to drill my footwork, shadow boxing and movement with fast-twitch muscles.”
She’s only won one out of her three MMA fights for ONE Championship. But Nguyen believes that her entertaining style has helped establish her as an immediate fan favourite,
“Every fight that I’ve had has been entertaining because I put everything out there, so fans can expect me to be that same exciting, aggressive fighter,” Nguyen say
“I think when I come back and I’m able to put on a big camp, [fans will see] a better version of me.”
Her two defeats have both come by way of decision and Nguyen feels she could be fighting with a greater sense of urgency,
“I enjoy the competition so much that sometimes I prolong it and don’t take the smart route to get the finish. Fans can expect the same exciting fighter, but this time I’m going to take the smarter route and go for finishes.”
Nguyen has not fought this year. She saw a Muay Thai bout at ONE: ‘Heart of Heroes’ fall through due to concerns over Covid-19.
But she is looking on the bright side. Nguyen says that sitting on the sidelines for so long has only made her more motivated to put on the performance of a lifetime when she finally returns,
“It’s actually more exciting for me to think about how I will perform. When I come back I think it’s going to be fireworks. I’m just ready to get in the ring. I miss it so much.”