Another great night of fights awaits us this Friday as Bellator 243 takes place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. A fight card headlined by Lightweight’s Michael Chandler and Benson Henderson. I had the pleasure of speaking to one of the athletes competing on the card in Nainou Dung.
Nainoa Dung (3-1) enters the bout looking to overcome his recent loss to Zach Zane at Bellator 236. The Baby Faced Assassin was riding a three-fight winning streak before suffering his first professional loss.
Friday night will mark Dung’s fourth appearance in the Bellator cage going (2-1). Although we’ve not seen the 21-year-old in action for 8 months, he’s fully prepared and focussed to get to work come fight night.
Charlie Campbell (1-1) kicked off his professional career in 2019 after a clean sweep on the amateur circuit. Campbell finished every one of his opponents as an amateur.
Fighting out of the well respected ‘Longo And Weidman MMA’. Campbell has the correct people behind him to kick start his career. The Cannibal is also coming off a loss and has a tough test ahead of him on his Bellator debut.
How has preparation been for you ahead of your bout with Charlie Campbell at Bellator 243? Many athlete’s training schedules have been affected due to the pandemic. Has this been the case for yourself?
Dung – “Preparation has been great heading into this fight. Mentally and physically I am in a good place. Despite all the bad going on with this COVID 19 situation I made the most out of this time. I built my own gym in my garage and I’ve been putting the work in.”
You’re coming back after 8 months and coming off your first professional loss. Where do you feel you went wrong in your matchup with Zane and has the time off allowed you to work on aspects of your game?
Dung – “I don’t think I went wrong anywhere. I feel I did a great job against the stylistic matchup. My opponent played it safe and did his best to survive my offensive attacks to win by decision. As far as wins and losses it’s all apart of fighting and I accept that. I look forward to the next one.”
Having the well-respected Henry Hooft as your head coach, how much of a role does he play in your development, and talk to me what it’s like being one of his students?
Dung – “It plays a big role in my development. He’s the best striking coach in the game and has a lot of knowledge that he passes down to me and all of his fighters.”
Henry Hooft has had the best of the best train under him. Names like Usman, Gilbert, and Sang. Is there anybody in the gym that’s got the experience behind them that you really look up to and go for advice. How much does that help and inspire you when you’re training and learning with these high caliber guys?
Dung – “Being the youngest fighter on the professional team having so many high level fighters in the gym I can go to any of the fighters for advice. It helps a lot because a lot of them are at the top of their divisions in the best promotions and they didn’t get there by accident.”
On to your opponent in Charlie Campbell, what’s your overall thoughts on this fight, and have you had much time to look into the background of your opponent, or is this something you tend to stay away from?
Dung – “I know my opponent has well respected coaches and a good team. He was undefeated as an amateur and had a few pro fights. I know what I’m up against and he knows what he’s up against and we get to find out who the better fighter Is on August 7th.”
You really are an exciting prospect and at such a young age, how do you stay grounded when the hype starts and a lot of people are behind you?
Dung – “I’m young but I have a lot of experience. I do well with pressure, I was never one to fold under pressure I was taught to apply it.”
Lastly from me, what can fight fans expect to see from you come fight night?
Dung – “They can always expect a fun exciting fight in a Nainoa Dung fight. I will put it all on the line every time I step into that cage.”
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