Former two-division ONE world champion and current No. 3-ranked featherweight contender Martin "The Situ-Asian" Nguyen is working his way back into world title contention and wants the best available matchup for his next fight.
Following a tough stretch, the Vietnamese-Australian superstar is coming off a third-round technical knockout of promotional newcomer Kirill Gorobets at "ONE: Lights Out" in March.
It was a vintage showing for Nguyen, who snapped a two-fight skid with the dynamic performance.
Now, he’s hoping to make an even bigger statement and gain some redemption against No. 2-ranked featherweight "The Fighting God" Kim Jae Woong.
"For me, what makes sense for the division is fighting the next guy in line, which will be that rematch against Kim Jae Woong since he hasn't got an opponent," Nguyen said. "Or if someone who's out of the top five, I'll jump in now, obviously. I'll put my hand up for that."
Nguyen and Kim first met at "ONE: Revolution" in September 2021.
"The Situ-Asian" was looking to bounce back after surrendering the featherweight belt to Thanh Le, but he made a critical error and got caught with a bludgeoning right hand from "The Fighting God," which led to a first-round KO defeat.
Finally back on track, Nguyen believes things would be different in a second meeting with Kim.
He considers himself a much-improved mixed martial artist who's reinvented his style to become more patient, calculated, and adaptable – whether that means utilizing his famed striking skills or showcasing more of his grappling.
"I fight as the fight goes, I don't go in there with a gameplan," the 33-year-old said. "I'll go in there and fight wherever the fight goes. And if it hits the ground, it hits the ground. If there's an opportunity for me to submit you, I’ll take it.”
"I know how to fight, it's just a matter of being ready for anything that my opponent throws at me. It's just a matter of being on point, whether it be on the ground, or on the feet. Everything else will fall into place."
Full-strength Nguyen feels ready to perform at his best
No matter who stands across from him, Nguyen is ready to put everything he has on the line.
And with more time than usual between his fights, the veteran star has been able to get his health and fitness into a better place.
In fact, the Sydney native believes he’s in peak condition and can't wait to get back inside the ONE Championship circle.
"I feel great man," the former lightweight and featherweight king said. "I'm just taking care of all those (nagging) injuries that I couldn't take care of throughout the last few years because everything has been so hectic. So this little break in between from like now and my last fight, I've really gotten the chance to have intense rehab and get the whole body back in check."
It's clear that Nguyen is targeting a rematch with No. 2-ranked contender Woong, but above all, he's hoping to give fans a memorable show.
For now, he's awaiting his next opponent – and he's ready to go full steam ahead once that matchup is locked in.
"When I get this fight contract, man, then it's back to go time," Nguyen added. "Overall, I'm feeling strong and feeling fast, feeling great, and I can't wait to perform again."
This story first published at ONEFC.com.