In the Covid-19 era it is inevitable that some fights are going to fall through. But Martin Nguyen has been more unfortunate than most, on two occasions he has seen bouts cancelled at the last minute after coming into contact with someone who subsequently tested positive.

It has been a difficult period for the former featherweight champion and if Nguyen has been quieter than normal there is a reason why,

“I think I was just totally mentally burnt out and wasn’t feeling like putting my life up on social media. I just wanted to stay quiet and let the bad times flow through,” he said.

Eager to fight

He is currently at Sanford MMA and says he is eager to fight and will be ready to return once the ONE Championship schedule resumes,

“Whatever ONE Championship offers, I’m ready and I’m signing. As soon as a pen hits the paper for the contract, it’s go time.”

He had been scheduled to take on Jae Woong Kim at ONE on TNT Part II and continued to train in Florida even after the fight was scrapped,

“I’m still staying in shape and I’m still working on what we worked at Sanford in order to be ready for Kim. But in saying that, I’m going to be ready no matter who it is,” he said.

Stepping up

Nguyen has hoped to be offered an immediate rematch after losing his title to Thanh Le at ONE: ‘Inside the Matrix’. Instead it appears that Garry Tonon is getting the first shot at the newly crowned champion and there are no hard feelings,

“Good on both of them. They deserve to fight each other. It was bound to happen. Tonon was going to get his title shot one way or another,” Nguyen said.

He knows from first hand experience that fights can fall apart at the last minute. But late changes to fight cards can also bring opportunities and Nguyen will be ready to step up as soon as one arises,

“If last minute, someone falls out of a title fight, I’ll step up. But at this moment, I’m planning for me versus Kim. I think a lot of people would want to watch that fight.”

The right way

Nguyen believes a rematch with Le is inevitable even if it won’t happen as quickly as he wanted,

“I thought (it) was the fight to make with me being a dominant champion for three years. In the near future I know that I’ll be fighting (him) so I’m not going to rush into things.”

The fight with Le was a barnburner and Nguyen appeared to be on the verge of scoring a stoppage win of his own moments before his opponent landed the decisive blows. It definitely wasn’t a bad performance but the 32 year old is adamant he can do better,

“Ultimately, for me, it’s about redemption. I know I can definitely perform better,” Nguyen says.

Nguyen has been on the ONE Championship roster long enough to understand how the matchmakers conduct their business. He knows badmouthing Le won’t help him get a rematch and is determined to earn it ‘the right way’,

“I’m not going to talk s**t and swear for my title shot. I’ll do it the right way, and if it’s a victory that I have to get, then I’m going to get that victory.”