Xiong Jing Nan tests skills with Ayaka Miura at ONE: Heavy Hitters on January 14th. The former defends her ONE strawweight world title against the latter inside Singapore Indoor Stadium.
I spoke with The Panda, through an interpreter, ahead of her next title defense and excerpts from my Nan chat are below.
Nan having a fight week birthday on January 12th and the desired B-Day gift
“Yeah, it’s knock her out and keep my belt with me. That is my best birthday present, of course.”
The history-making headlining title fight at ONE: Empower and what that meant for the champ
“I have to say that I appreciate Chatri (Sityodtong) and the whole ONE Championship. They put a female bout on the headline. I think it’s history because, as far as I can recall, I don’t think there’s any female headline. As well as the whole female card. I think that’s because women power in MMA is rising. So that’s why they do it. I’m the one, I’m Xiong Jing Nan, they chose to put on the headline. I won the fight, defended my belt. So yeah, it’s my motivation to push me forward. To any kind of fight, any kind of difficulty I’m gonna face.”
Xiong Jing Nan
Xiong Jing Nan’s comments about putting “happy strikes” on Michelle Nicolini and what that meant
“I know that a lot of people said that I don’t have the heart to finish (Michelle) Nicolini in that (ONE) Empower event. But I have to tell you a story. I have not told everyone in the post-fight interview. The reason why I didn’t finish her is because I respect Nicolini a lot. She’s a BJJ expert and a senior fighter to me, I think. She has been teaching ground fighting at Evolve (MMA). She has been a coach there. So I respect her a lot. That’s why I don’t have the heart to finish her. So I go through the full five rounds. So I think it’s kind of my way. My Xiong Jing Nan way. My special way to show my respect to my opponent, to Nicolini.”
The great work with Evolve MMA compatriot and former ONE male strawweight champion Alex Silva
“I greatly appreciate Alex Silva. He’s an amazing coach, an amazing ground-fighting game coach. We have been helping each other for a long time. Because when Alex Silva has a fight, I will prepare with him. I will spar with him. So we’re sparring with each other for a long time. When we’re in my training camp for (ONE) Empower, it’s a very hard time period. It’s a very hard time in Singapore because of the pandemic. The gym is closed and only when you do sparring or do training, only two people can come together. It’s so hard and you can’t find a gym.”
Nan continued, “You can’t find the right place to do the whole training. For ground fighting, I only had nine matches on the ground to practice. So that’s so hard. It’s such a hard time. But I have to say that Alex Silva really teaches me a lot. He teaches me a lot of skills I have not known before. Especially on takedown defense. Now I think I’ve improved a lot on my takedown defense. Like you can see in my last fight with Nicolini. She cannot drag me down to the ground. I can stop a takedown attempt. So it’s a great coach. I appreciate him.”
January 20th marking four years of Nan’s reign and what that milestone would mean if reached
“If you can step into the ONE Championship Circle to fight against me. Everyone is a top fighter you know because this is a global stage. You have to be tough to fight. You have to be a top athlete to fight in ONE Championship. So I like to challenge every different fighting style. I like to challenge every top fighter. So yeah, it’s a reason to motivate me.”
“To become an all-around fighter. Because I was a boxing fighter in the beginning. I was used to only one tool. That weapon is my boxing. I used to box my opponent out as soon as possible. But now I am an MMA fighter. This means it’s mixed martial arts. So I have to mix a lot of different tools, a lot of different weapons in a fight. So now I’m not only good at boxing, I’m also good at wrestling. Also good at ground fighting. That is all because I have to face and I have to fight all different kinds of fighting styled opponents. So now I’m an updated version of Panda. I’m a real mixed martial arts fighter. A truly mixed martial arts fighter.”
ONE: Heavy Hitters
How the methodology would shift if another atomweight title shot comes for The Panda down the line
“Yes, of course I want to go to atomweight because I almost cleared out my division. I almost cleared out all of the strawweight girls. So I really want to move down to atomweight in the future. It’s the near future, not the far future. So actually, I have been thinking about maybe I have to lose some weight from now on. It’s also a very difficult part because you know, the weight cut sometimes is so hard for a fighter. Because you have to be healthy at the same time and losing weight.”
“It’s a very difficult part. You have to keep your muscle and not lose your muscle doing the whole weight cut process. So I think there’s a lot of preparation I have to do when I move down to atomweight. But I’m willing to do that because there’s a lot of amazing fighters in atomweight. Like Angela Lee and don’t forget Stamp Fairtex. So yeah, I’m looking forward to the fight. No matter if it’s Angela Lee or Stamp Fairtex.”
Parting thoughts for Xiong Jing Nan
“I love all my fans. Thank you for all your support over this long period of time. I’m in Singapore right now and promise I’ll put on a very great show on Friday night. I will definitely rock the Circle and knock Miura-san out. In a very amazing fashion. So sit tight, enjoy the show.”
I’ve been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I’ve hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I’ve been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I’ve provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I’ve worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.