Burmese mixed martial arts superstar Aung La N Sang will have the opportunity of a lifetime when he gets a shot at the ONE middleweight world championship belt.
Aung La challenges division kingpin Vitaly Bigdash in the main event of ONE: Quest for Power, which takes place at the Jakarta Convention Center on 14 January.
Marcin Prachnio was originally penciled to lock horns with Bigdash for the gold-plated strap, but the highly-touted Polish combatant was forced to withdraw from the middleweight championship clash due to an injury.
Stepping in to replace Prachnio is Aung La, who is riding high on a remarkable four-fight winning streak.
The past year has been big for the man known as “The Burmese Python,” who got his nickname due to his constricting style of fighting. Aung La won three consecutive fights in impressive fashion last year.
Returning from a nearly two-year hiatus, Aung La showed that he did not have cage rust in him by outstandingly submitting Egyptian stalwart Mohamed Ali with a first-round guillotine choke in March.
Aung La followed it up by handing Aleksei Butorin his first career defeat last August, forcing the Russian standout to tap with an arm-triangle choke in the second round.
The 31-year-old Burmese fighter capped off his 2016 calendar by carving a unanimous decision win over ex-light heavyweight title contender Michal Pasternak with a masterful striking and wrestling performance this past October.
Aung La stressed that he has done more than enough to vie for Bigdash’s intricately-crafted championship belt.
I FEEL VERY HONORED TO BE ABLE TO REPRESENT MY PEOPLE. THEY ARE MY INSPIRATION EVERY TIME THAT I COMPETE.
“My last two fights have been against a guy who was supposed to fight for the title and an ex-title contender. For sure, I deserved my position to challenge Vitaly Bigdash for the title. I am not going to waste this wonderful opportunity,” he said.
Aung La has a tall order in front of him as Bigdash brings an immaculate record of 8-0 into the scheduled five-round title tilt.
The 32-year-old Russian brute has not gone the distance yet in his nearly five-year prizefighting career, owning four knockout victories and four submission triumphs.
Although Bigdash poses to be the roadblock to Aung La’s path to becoming the first Burmese MMA world champion, the latter is confident that he will walk away with the world title belt around his waist.
Aung La shared that his countrymen are his source of strength and motivation to claim the ONE Middleweight World Championship title.
“I feel very honored to be able to represent my people. They love the sport. I am very surprised to how much support I get from the people. They are my inspiration every time that I compete. Now, I am so motivated to win the title for the people of Myanmar,” he stated.
According to Aung La, winning the ONE Middleweight World Championship is important to him as he sees it as his chance to repay the nation’s steadfast support throughout his career.
“I would like to repay the unwavering support that they gave me all throughout the years by winning the ONE Middleweight World Championship belt. It’s my way of saying thank you to them,” he asserted.
Even though it was given to him on a short notice, Aung La remains grateful that ONE Championship awarded the title shot to him.
“My Christmas gift came late, but I am happy that ONE Championship gave me this chance to compete for a world title. I have been working so hard to reach this stage. This is it,” he declared.