Aung La N Sang might be an ordinary mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter in the eyes of many in the world, but he is extremely revered by over 53 million Burmese people as a hero in his motherland.
A national treasure like Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar, the whole country stands still each time that Aung La steps inside the ONE Championship cage.
Aung La’s superstar status has been published in every mainstream newspaper in Myanmar. He has been a regular staple on each household’s television screen.
On the day of his fight, all walks of like unite in support of Aung La, which he then compensates with a sweet victory.
In his battles inside the cage, Aung La admitted that his countrymen are his source of strength and his inspiration to win every match.
“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,” he said.
In gratitude to the nation’s steadfast support, Aung La wants to give back by bringing home the ONE Middleweight World Championship belt.
“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,” Aung La stated.
2016 has been a big year for the man known as “The Burmese Python,” who got his nickname due to his constricting style of fighting. Aung La won three consecutive matches in impressive fashion this 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 2016.
Aung La followed it up by handing Aleksei Butorin his first career defeat in August 2016, forcing the Russian standout to tap with an arm-triangle choke in the second round.
The 31-year-old Burmese MMA competitor 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 in October.
His stellar run in 2016 earned him a date with Vitaly Bigdash for the ONE Middleweight World Championship title this past January.
Aung La battled valiantly against a fierce finisher like Bigdash, yielding to the Russian standout in a five-round championship encounter by way of close unanimous decision.
Aung La and Bigdash are set to meet for the second time in the main event of ONE: LIGHT OF A NATION in Yangon, Myanmar on 30 June.
This time, the Myanmar national hero believes that he can produce a different result with better preparation in a highly-anticipated rematch against Bigdash.
“The last fight I took on short notice and I wasn’t at my best. This time, with better preparation and a full training camp, I vow to give a much better account of myself. Competing in Yangon in front of all my fans is such an honor,” he stressed.
“I promise to do everything within my power to bring the belt back to Myanmar! It’s going to be an epic battle of attrition, and the better man will emerge victorious on the night,” he added.
With entire nation rallying behind him as he shares the ONE Championship cage with Bigdash once again, Aung La asserted that it would bring out his determination to get his hand raised in triumph.
“There are no distractions. Zero. I just love the support from everybody. It’s a home-crowd advantage for me,” he shared.
Capturing the ONE Middleweight World Championship strap will put Aung La in history books as the first Burmese fighter to claim a world title in the sport of MMA.
Aung La promises not to disappoint his countrymen as he vows to walk out of the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium with the ONE Middleweight World Championship around his waist.
“Vitaly Bigdash is very tough and comes forward. I am going to come in there, and he needs to stop what I am bringing. I am determined and hungry to win the belt for my country,” he ended.
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