Aung La N Sang

Photo credit to ONE Championship PR

Aung La N Sang talks Vitaly Bigdash rubber match at ONE: Full Circle

Aung La N Sang tests skills with Vitaly Bigdash in a rubber match at ONE: Full Circle. This high-stakes middleweight matchup takes place at Singapore Indoor Stadium on February 25th.

I spoke with N Sang ahead of this fight and excerpts from our chat are below.


This rubber match being canceled before and if the Bigdash trilogy will only feel real once in the Circle

“No, I think I’m pretty solid it’s going down. It fell through a couple of times because of COVID. But we’re back on. We’re both vaccinated. Everything should be good. When I’m in Florida training, daily I’m reminded that he’s the reason why I moved down to Florida.”

Aung La N Sang

The move to Florida and subsequent hard work all culminating in this moment

“I moved down to Florida. Because I knew my training elsewhere wasn’t gonna be the level of training that I can compete against him. Just different circumstances. So when I came down here four years ago, he’s the reason. He made me more professional. So I have nothing but love for him.”

The first two fights being five years ago and how the complexion of this contest differs

“I think I’ve grown as a mixed martial artist. Know what to expect from him. I know he’s improved. But I’ve been a lot more active than he has. So it’s gonna be a totally different fight, for sure.”

The sparring partners out of Sanford MMA who present good looks for fighting Bigdash here

“Phil Hawes is in camp too. He’s very top-heavy, wrestling-heavy. He’s powerful; more powerful than Bigdash is. I used Phil as one of my sparring partners and then Impa (Kasanganay). Right now he’s gained a lot of weight. And it’s a good weight. So he’s very, very strong and heavy as well. For me, wrestling was going to be an issue with him and him being on top. I have these two guys that are very, very strong. Plus some more, like Ian Heinisch is there as well.”

“Even the heavier weight guys like Steve Mowry. We have Linton Vassell as well. All these younger guys coming up as well. As far as middleweights, we have a lot of middleweights. So I work with them on my grappling side. And then on the striking side, I work with the faster welterweights like Jason Jackson, Ian Garry. These guys are fast, way faster than Bigdash is gonna be. These guys are the guys I’m working with on the feet. It gives me a better look than I am gonna see. That’s what I think at least. That’s what I’m striving for at least.”

ONE Championship

This card seeming like a middleweight showcase with Reinier de Ridder defending the ONE belt against Kiamrian Abbasov and Leandro Ataides vs David Branch

“I’m trying to elevate the game. Try to elevate the middleweight bouts. I want to fight all of them. With COVID and all, nothing is certain. One fight might fall through.”

ONE Championship instantiating 50k bonuses and how Aung La N Sang feels about that

“I don’t put on boring fights. Myself, as a fan, I would hate to watch a boring fight. That’s why when I fight, I always make it action-packed. If I’m not there to kill you, you’re gonna kill me.”

The DJ vs Rodtang hybrid rules bout and if N Sang would do a mixed contest with MMA and Lethwei rules

“Sure, but then if you do Lethwei, you have to do Lethwei justice. You would have to do bare hands and then we’ll do MMA with bare hands.”

ONE: Full Circle

The devastating, awful situation back in Myanmar still raging on

“Both Tial (Thang) are really, really, really heartbroken that the country’s going backward right now. It was going great. Everybody was happy. And all of a sudden, we’re going back to the dark ages. At least during this time, Tial and I can be a light. Represent them and make them feel good for a little bit. Give them hope to keep fighting.”

N Sang’s last KO win offering a glimmer of hope for a brief period

“Yeah, for the five minutes that I fought, yes. And then the win, yes. But it’s just a sad time, man. You can’t even compare. Like usually when I win in Japan and stuff, you see videos of the villagers cheering and stuff like that, right? But after (Leandro) Ataides, you don’t see those kinds of stuff.”

His recent anniversary in ONE Championship and the mutual growth with fighter and promotion, by proxy

“We did some good stuff in the eight years. We did some bad stuff. But we did some good stuff too. So I think it’s gonna be even better the next four years. If we keep growing and keep doing the right things with the right values, I think the next four years are going to be better.”

Aung La N Sang vs Vitaly Bigdash III

The backstory on why Tial Thang is coming hard

“He says the most random stuff at the gym. Sometimes like it sounds inappropriate. Right after the fight after he thanks all these people, he says ‘Bantamweights, I’m coming! I’m coming hard’. And all of a sudden, I thought that’s kind of weird to say. Hard, like I’m coming hard. Then on the group chat right away.”

“I didn’t think much of it. And I didn’t think people would kind of find the joke funny… All of a sudden in our group chat, one of our guys made a gif of I’m coming! I’m coming hard! It went on like that for like a minute. Just those, I’m coming. I’m coming hard. A slow-motion one. It’s so funny. Yeah, that’s why.”

Parting thoughts for Aung La N Sang

“Tial (Thang) and I will be fighting. We’re working very hard to put on some good shows. We can’t promise a win or a loss. But we can promise that we’re gonna go out there and we’ll put the best show that we can. Do everything it takes to get the win. You guys are in for a treat and thank you for all the support. Thank you for all the love. People in Myanmar, just people all around the world, stay strong and do what’s right.”

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