On this exact day, five years ago, Martin Nguyen made history by becoming ONE Championship’s first-ever two-division world champion.
‘The Situ-Asian’, who was already the ONE featherweight world champion at the time, did the unthinkable by also capturing the ONE lightweight world title at ONE: Legends of the World in 2017.
Before Christian Lee tries to conquer two divisions at ONE on Prime Video 4 on November 18, let’s have a look at how Nguyen paved the way for everyone who achieved double-world champion status.
Shortly after knocking out Marat Gafurov to become the 155-pound king, Nguyen bravely entered enemy territory against the Philippines’ own martial arts hero, Eduard Folayang.
The bout took place in front of a roaring Filipino crowd inside the Mall of Asia Arena. The Vietnamese-Australian, though, managed to silence them all with one punch.
There was no bad blood whatsoever between the two world champions, who had nothing but mutual respect for one another. This showed in the early goings of the match when the pair figured in a tense feeling-out process.
Folayang was the first one who shook off the cobwebs first by getting into his distance early and peppering Nguyen with his thunderous kicks. The sheer sound of those lethal kicks landing had the entire arena cheering, but the featherweight world champion kept his composure and was biding his time.
Martin Nguyen eventually got inside and forced ‘Landslide’ into a clinch near the circle wall. Folayang went for an outside trip, which Nguyen timed perfectly to perform a takedown of his own.
He was able to control the bigger Folayang and land some powerful ground and pound right before time expired in the first round.
Martin Nguyen lands his Sunday punch in round 2
The ensuing round started off the same, with Folayang attacking from a distance and landing with chopping kicks to the body and legs.
Nguyen, however, remained patient. After all, he has one of the most fearsome weapons in all of MMA tucked in that right hand of his. All he needed was a split-second opening to land that one clean shot.
Folayang’s confidence grew in the second round as he began unleashing his deadly wushu arsenal of flashy spinning attacks.
Nguyen was still unable to mount any significant offense since the Team Lakay standout used his length to keep him at bay. Folayang was clearly winning the bout at that point, up until the tides turned in an instant halfway into the second round.
The Filipino landed a spinning sidekick to the body of Nguyen, but the challenger braced for impact and threw a heavy bomb of his own. Martin Nguyen timed that kick perfectly and unleashed a brutal counter-right cross that took away Folayang’s consciousness.
‘The Situ-Asian’ even landed two follow-up shots for good measure, but Folayang was clearly already out at that point. Seeing how hurt Folayang was, Nguyen showed the compassion of a true champion by checking in on his fallen foe.
Relieve Martin Nguyen’s two-division crowning moment below: