In ONE: Inside the Matrix, people’s champion Martin Nguyen suffered a heart-breaking loss to Thanh Le. With the defeat, he lost his ONE Featherweight Belt, whom he has carried for over 3 years. Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen was starting to shift the momentum to his side in the third round. He was able to land strikes clean and made Thanh Le start to slow down until he got caught by a straight right hand. From that on, Thanh Le released an onslaught and the champion never got the chance to recover, making the referee step in to stop the fight.
“Styles makes fights, and the styles that me and him possess, it’s themed for fireworks”. This is what the reigning ONE Featherweight World Champion, Martin Nguyen said in an interview with Overtime Heroics. His reign in the ONE Featherweight division has come to a halt. This gets us all questioning, what’s next for Martin Nguyen?
Looking at the ONE Featherweight rankings
The current ONE Featherweight World Champion is Thanh Le, and the #1 contender is Martin Nguyen. Being the champion for three years, Martin deserves the number one spot even with the knock-out defeat. At #2 is Christian Lee, who is also the ONE Lightweight World Champion. At #3 is Garry Tonon, who recently beat # Koyomi Matushima to replace him at this spot. Then at # is Tetsuya Yamada, whose last fight was a loss against Marat Gafurov.
A match against Christian Lee is very less likely to happen. Christian Lee has said that he wants to focus on the lightweight division and clear out all the contenders. Also, Martin has already beaten Lee twice. A third match isn’t impossible, but it’s definitely not the right match that is next for Martin Nguyen.
Another contender whom Martin has already beaten is Koyomi Matsushima. In that fight, Martin won via knockout, after rounds of nullifying what Matsushima had to offer. Matsushima is coming off a loss against Garry Tonon, making him riding a two-fight losing streak. A rematch with Martin Nguyen is somewhat illogical.
Tetsuya Yamada, the #4 contender got knocked out by Kim Jae Woong at ONE: Big Bang II. His loss would probably shake up the rankings. After the fight, Kim Jae Woong called out Martin, saying he wants to challenge. While Woong’s win was impressive, I don’t think ONE Championship books the fight. Woong doesn’t deserve the shot at Martin yet. I think he might need to have another win at a ranked opponent.
Martin Nguyen vs Garry Tonon Possibility
This fight is what is most likely to happen next. Garry Tonon is fresh off a win against Koyomi Matsushima, in what may have been a title-eliminator match. With Tonon’s win, he made a case for a title shot, and he also called out for it. ONE Championship can make Martin Nguyen versus Garry Tonon a legit title-eliminator match.
Martin has also said on post-fight interviews that if ever he doesn’t get granted the immediate rematch, he’d be willing to rack up a few wins before competing for the title again. Martin can take advantage of this match to evaluate himself and how his body took the loss. Has his chin become compromised? Is his mentality the same as his championship state? He will never know until he steps back onto that cage again.
A title-eliminator match between Martin Nguyen and Garry Tonon doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Both men deserve to be there and it sure is an exciting fight to make!
What’s the best option for Martin Nguyen?
The best option for Martin Nguyen is the rematch against Thanh Le. When you think about it, Martin has already beaten most contenders ranked under him. There is no reason for him to rematch those guys unless the promotion will really book it. The Garry Tonon fight is the only thing that makes sense but it also holds the biggest risk for him. Garry Tonon is a legit contender and can submit anyone, including the former champion.
In Martin’s social media accounts, he is already back in the gym and training again. The “Rebuild” as he says, he seems to be looking forward to the rematch happening early 2021, possibly February.
Who doesn’t want the “Situ-Asian” to get his revenge and redemption? Nevertheless, any other fight that he takes on next, fans will surely be tuning in to him, Martin Nguyen is one of Asia’s fan favorites!
Featured Photo Credits to ONE Championship
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