ONE Championship middleweight and light heavyweight champion Aung La N Sang plans on defending his titles for a while.
The Myanmar native (24-10) will be defending his 185-pound title for the third time in a rematch against Ken Hasegawa (16-3-1) at ONE: A New Era which takes place March 31 in Tokyo, Japan.
Fighting in the birthplace of martial arts
It will be the Singapore-promotion’s debut show in Japan with N Sang’s title fight being one of four taking place on a stacked card that also includes the debuts of former UFC champions Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez.
Speaking to The Body Lock, N Sang — who expects a lot of Burmese fans to come out for the event — spoke of his excitement for this particular event.
“I’m super excited for this show. I’m super excited to defend my title. It’s an honor for me to be a part of this first show in Tokyo. For me, Japan is where martial arts began so to be able to compete in Japan is a big honor and I’m very excited.”
N Sang, of course, defeated Hasegawa in June last year by knockout in what was one of the fights of the year.
“The Burmese Python” has gone on to defend his middleweight title once more since, while Hasegawa hasn’t fought since his third career defeat.
For some, it might seem odd for Hasegawa to get another rematch, but the decision wasn’t really up to N Sang, who believes it’s a strategic move from the promotion to enter the Japanese market.
“It’s not really up to me, they offered me this rematch. I’m just glad to take it because I wanted to be on this show. He was ranked number one in Japan and for that reason, ONE Championship is going to the Japanese market, so they’re promoting him.”
Few more years left in the tank
Regardless of the opponent, the goal remains the same for 33-year-old who believes he’s in his prime — keep defending his titles and establish a legacy.
“I think I got a few more years left in me. I plan on defending the titles for quite a while. What’s next, really depends on my body and my mind. Right now, I feel like I’m in my prime, everything’s coming together good and I’m the most athletic I’ve ever been so I’m excited.”
The full card can be seen below:
- Eduard Folayang vs. Shinya Aoki (ONE Lightweight Championship)
- Xiong Jing Nan vs. Angela Lee (ONE Strawweight Championship)
- Aung La N Sang vs. Ken Hasegawa (ONE Middleweight Championship)
- Kevin Belingon vs. Bibiano Fernandes (ONE Bantamweight Championship)
- Yuya Wakamatsu vs. Demetrious Johnson (ONE Flyweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
- Eddie Alvarez vs. Timofey Nastyukhin (ONE Lightweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
- Andy Souwer vs. Yodsanklai Iwe Fairtex (Kickboxing)
- Danny Kingad vs. Andrew Leone (ONE Flyweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
- Tatsumitsu Wada vs. Ivanildo Delfino (ONE Flyweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
- Kairat Akhmetov vs. Reece McLaren (ONE Flyweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
- Mei Yamaguchi vs. Kseniya Lachkova
- Anthony Engelen vs. Garry Tonon
- Rodtang Jitmuangnon vs. Hakim Hamech
- Panicos Yusuf vs. Mohammed Bin Mahmoud (Muay Thai)
- Hiroki Akimoto vs. Joseph Lasiri (Kickboxing)
- Yoon Chang Min vs. Bala Shetty