Tial Thang does not have to look far to find teammates who have enjoyed success with ONE Championship. He is training at Sanford MMA in Florida alongside former champions Aung La Nsang and Martin Nguyen.

“I see all the champions coming here, training with us from overseas. There’s a big sacrifice. I see all the champions doing it. So, for me, it’s a little bit easier to do it. They motivate me every day.”

Thang was born in Myanmar but is based in the US. His home of New York is a long way from Florida and this is just one of the sacrifices he has made to pursue his MMA dreams,

“If you really want it, you have to be willing to sacrifice. It’s not easy staying away from your wife. It’s not easy staying away from your kids but the goal is to provide for them in the future, so it’s going to be worth it.”

Amazing people

Brandon Vera has also used Sanford MMA to prepare for a ONE Championship title bout and Thang says seeing so many former champions at his gym makes him confident he is on the right track,

“I have amazing people surrounding me, like Aung La and all my Sanford MMA teammates. They are doing the same thing. They sacrifice as much as I do.”

At ONE: ‘Battleground’ Part III he faces Song Jong Min. Thang is excited to be testing his skills against the former Road FC flyweight champion,

“I believe he was a Road FC flyweight champion. So, of course, if you went to a five-round fight, and you’re a champion of some organization, I give you respect. I respect that a lot.”

Coming forward

The Korean is much more experienced than any of the other opponents Thang has faced and the Burmese bantamweight admits he does not see many weaknesses,

“I think he has good striking. He’s fast, and his grappling is also decent. I don’t see his weaknesses so much, so I cannot wait to find out my skill set with this type of opponent.”

Thang feels that he will be taking a step up in this contest which is being broadcast for the first time on Friday. The 27 year old thinks Song will be more aggressive than his previous opponents,

“I’ve been looking forward to this type of fight. He’s coming forward. I’m coming forward. In my past three fights, I feel like (my opponents) were running away a little bit so I had to chase them down and I don’t see that going into this fight. I think he’s going to come forward, I’m going to go forward, and we’re going to collide in the middle of that circle.”

Hard work

Thang competed as an amateur in the US. But his professional career has consisted of nothing but ONE Championship fights and he knows he has not faced the top dogs in the division yet.

He still feels like a man with a point to prove and Thang hopes to demonstrate that he belongs with the top contenders,

“If you look at this ONE Championship bracket, I think bantamweight is the most stacked division and hopefully, they will find my identity in this fight.”

The Burmese bantamweight has made a lot of sacrifices to ensure he is ready for this fight and he hopes they will pay off,

“I worked really, really hard for this camp. I sacrificed a lot for this fight, and it’s going to show. It’s going to show on fight night, and it’s going to be fireworks. I promise you guys, it’s going to end with a finish.”