Myanmar’s Aung La N Sang is a genuine inspiration.
The 32-year-old known simply to his legion of fans as “The Burmese Python” has amassed a career full of experience over his 13-year martial arts career, and now everything seems to be coming together, as he claimed a pair of ONE World Titles in the span of eight months.
As the reigning ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Champion, Aung La N Sang is preparing to face his biggest challenges yet, as he looks to successfully defend his world titles against the best martial artists in the world.
Here are five reasons why his fans have every faith in his ability to do just that.
#1 He Loves A Challenge
While some athletes stay in their lane and stick to what they know, Aung La N Sang seems to thrive on the challenge of the unknown.
The Myanmar hero has tested himself in many ways during his ONE Championship career, as he has competed in both the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, and captured the world title in each weight class.
Also, he put his skills to the ultimate test last November, when he stepped into the cage opposite Hong Kong knockout artist Alain “The Panther” Ngalani in the promotion’s first-ever Open Weight Super-Bout, and submitted the hulking Cameroonian inside the first round.
“The Burmese Python” has proven beyond any doubt that the weight class, and his opponent’s style, does not matter. He is up for any challenge thrown at him.
#2 He Continues To Get Better And Better
As Aung La N Sang continues to push himself, he has also improved from bout to bout.
After reeling off four consecutive wins, he was defeated by then-unbeaten middleweight kingpin Vitaly Bigdash in January 2017. But he learned enough from the first encounter to go back to the gym and work on what he needed to improve before returning to beat Bigdash in a thrilling rematch later that June.
In addition to that, he left his comfort zone of Crazy 88 Mixed Martial Arts in Maryland, heading for Hard Knox 365 in Florida to train with Henri Hooft in anticipation of his light heavyweight world title contest against Alexandre Machado this past February. He won in record time of 56 seconds via TKO.
All of that encapsulates what Aung La N Sang is as a martial artist — ever-evolving, ever-improving, and always striving to test himself.
#3 He Is Determined To Defend His World Titles
That drive to improve leads on to his two world titles, and he has made clear his intention to hold on to both of them, as he gets ready to defend them against all-comers in the coming months.
Aung La N Sang’s plan, he explained, would be to first defend the middleweight world title in the coming months, and then the light heavyweight world title before the end of the year.
Make no mistake about it, he is not keen on just holding on to the belts. He truly wants competition.
“I am a martial artist, first and foremost,” he said. “I am not here to play. I am here to put on shows, to keep the belts, and to compete.”
#4 He Easily Shifts Between Weights, And Is Always In Shape
If any martial artist on the ONE roster can successfully defend two world titles, then it is Aung La N Sang.
The Myanmar athlete has shown his ability to jump between weight classes, and said that both after his Open Weight Super-Bout last year, and his ONE Light Heavyweight World Title win earlier this year. In fact, he is ready to drop back to middleweight to defend that belt first.
He also feels a real duty to honor and defend the belts as a true world champion should, and he believes the middleweight world title should be defended next in order to ensure the weight class does not become stagnant due to an inactive titleholder.
“I just competed at light heavyweight, and I do not want to hold up the middleweight division.”
#5 He Is Driven To Inspire And Motivate
Perhaps more than any other athlete who has stepped into the ONE cage, Aung La N Sang carries the weight of expectation of a nation on his shoulders when he competes.
However, rather than feel the pressure of expectation, he thrives off the energy of his fans, with his bouts in Yangon producing some of the most unforgettable atmospheres in the organization’s history.
After his bouts, he uses his opportunity to address the crowd much like a national leader would, speaking about making a positive difference as he empowers his fellow countrymen with hope, inspiration, and strength.
He may not be running for government, but Aung La N Sang is a hugely influential figure in his home nation, and it is something he takes very seriously.
The hero said: “I can motivate people in my hometown and home country, to let them know they can succeed at the highest level if they choose to work hard, and put their mind and soul into it.”