Joshua Van got to fight on a marquee UFC card for the first time last weekend. The Burmese flyweight got the superstar treatment with Joe Rogan interviewing him in the octagon after the fight.
Rogan, who is a more recognizable figure than most of the fighters on the roster these days, was calling UFC 295 which was a pay per view card at Madison Square Garden. The win immediately elevated Van’s status and the first thing he wanted fans to know is that,
“People of Myanmar, this is the first Burmese fighter in the UFC. Stand up!”
Van was born in Hakha but grew up in Texas. Before UFC 295 very few fans were aware that there was a Burmese fighter on the promotion’s roster but the victory has immediately raised his profile in Myanmar.
It was his second UFC win and Van only turned 22 last month so it is unlikely to be his last. The Burmese flyweight is a rising star with a record of 9-1 and feels that he showed real heart to come back from a torrid opening round,
“I made a mistake on my timing in the first round and I paid for it (but) they learned that I got heart, getting dropped like that in the first round and then getting a unanimous decision.”
"As the rounds go by, I break guys."
Joshua Van secures the win after a hard fought fight over Kevin Borjas at #UFC295 🔊⬆️
— UFC News (@UFCNews) November 12, 2023
In the post fight press conference Van talked more about his relationship with the fans in Myanmar and how important it was for him to impress at Madison Square garden,
“For me it’s nothing different but the people that reach out to me they tell me how big a fight this is.”
There is a passionate fanbase in Myanmar and Aung La Nsang, who like Van moved to the US as a child, has become a real favourite there. The 22 year old says he already has a lot of support from his homeland,
“A lot of people they give me support and they reach out to me and soon the younger generation of fighters from Myanmar will be up here.”
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As the first Burmese fighter to compete in the UFC he is already breaking new ground. It is a measure of how confident Van is that he sounded extremely disappointed not to have finished the fight inside the distance.
He came close to breaking a UFC record for the most body shots landed in a three round fight. Afterwards Van admitted he had been in a serious car crash just weeks before the event.
Van had hoped to walk into the octagon carrying the Burmese flag. This request was denied but fans in Myanmar are already starting to find out exactly who this promising flyweight fighter is.