On June 30, 2017, Aung La Nsang became ONE Championship Middle Weight World Champion. He defeated title holder Vitaly Bigdash by unanimous decision in his home country of Yangon, Myanmar. The fight was a rematch between the two. Nsang was offered the first bout in January of this year on two weeks’ notice, losing by judges’ decision. With a full fight camp and the support of his people in Thuwunna National Indoor Stadium, Nsang was victorious. He was crowned #AndNew Middle Weight World Champion.
“I am not talented, I am not good, I am not fast, but with you, I have courage. I have strength. I have what I need to win a world title,” Nsang declared in his post-fight remarks. He has aptly been given the name ‘The People’s Champ.’
Bigdash is a 32-year-old Russian fighter with a 9-0 record. He first won the title belt in 2015 but didn’t defend the title until he faced Nsang in January in Indonesia. Prior to January’s fight, Nsang—the 32-year-old Burmese fighter training out of Crazy 88 near Baltimore, Maryland—had been on a 4-0 winning streak under ONE Championship. Nsang has 18 stoppages in 19 career wins.
Nsang first made his return to Myanmar to fight at ONE Championships in March 2016. He was triumphant defeating Egypt’s Mohammed Ali in the “Union of Warriors” main event. Nsang submitted Ali at 2:38 of Round 1. Surrounding the fight, it was clear that Nsang had caught national attention, he conducted more than 15 interviews in a 10-day trip. What struck his teammates was that Nsang took time out of his training schedule to coach the other Burmese fighters on the same card, those with little experience in mixed martial arts. While the schedule was demanding, Nsang rose to the occasion with professionalism and kind words for all he encountered.
Nsang is regarded a national hero. He is currently the only internationally recognized Burmese sports icon. What makes his persona even more touching, is the long, hard road it took for him to get where is he today. Nsang came from Burma to the United States as a student at 18 years old. He studied agriculture in Michigan working on a dairy farm, later as a migratory beekeeper, before making his way to Maryland and joining Crazy 88 Mixed Martial Arts. On his last trip to Myanmar, he visited a camp for internally displaced people (IDP) near his home town of Myitkyina.
Nsang currently coaches at Crazy 88’s two locations, Elkridge and Owings Mills. He is married to his wife Katie and has one son Ah De.
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