Not long after experiencing victory in her ONE Championship debut in April, Bi Nguyen will return to face Bozhena Antoniyar at the upcoming ‘Masters of Destiny’ event on July 12.
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“Killer Bee” spoke to John Hyon Ko of The Body Lock about her upcoming fight in Malaysia, the pressures of winning, and collecting her first professional finish.
High risk, high reward
Nguyen’s first win with the Asian-based promotion was a fantastic first-round knockout finish of Dwi Ani Retno Wulan in front of the fans in Manila, Philippines.
This was the first stoppage victory of the American’s professional mixed martial arts career and marked her first time competing outside of the United States.
“Killer Bee” spoke about the pressure that was no longer there, while mentioning that retirement was on her mind before receiving the much sought after phone call.
“After my dad’s passing, the Survivor [TV Show] thing and the loss of the world title fight I was contemplating retirement, [but] then I got the call from ONE Championship,” Nguyen told John Hyon Ko in a recent interview.
“I was just happy doing what I was doing – the pressure that I used to put on myself was no longer there, so I was just comfortable enjoying the ride.”
Nguyen elaborated on the pressures she previously felt to remain undefeated and finish her opponents.
“I waited so long to turn pro because I was scared of all the pressure. Then when I turned pro, all I could think about when fighting was ‘don’t lose, don’t lose, don’t lose.”
“I didn’t take any risks and I wasn’t having fun. If you look at my amateur record, I have a lot of finishes. But in my pro record, I wasn’t finishing anyone because I was just so scared of losing and taking chances. This new fight [is a] new me, I’m fearless because I’m having fun. No matter the outcome, I’m gonna go for it.”
The 29-year-old moved her training camp to Tiger Muay Thai in Thailand, and there are numerous reasons for this. One deciding factor was that training in Thailand has helped to increase her determination.
“I realized that getting away, going to Thailand and just focusing on training [is good]. Being away from home is tough. It’s lonely out here but it forces me to get hungry at the age I’m at. It reminds me to be hungry and it makes your brain switch into ‘earning’ mode – you really have to earn this win. It’s good to humble yourself and get to a place where you can get hungry again.”
Financial reasons have made it hard for Nguyen’s coaches to join her abroad, but she makes the most of time spent with them while at home.
“It’s hard [because] I can’t yet afford to bring them out here with me to camp; it’s quite expensive training abroad.”
“What I do off-season [when at home] is stick to technique and don’t spar hard. I try to save as many brain cells as possible until fight camp.”
Bringing ONE Championship home
The average length of a mixed martial artist’s training camp can range from anywhere between 6-12 weeks, giving them enough time to get in shape and hone their skills.
“Killer Bee’s” upcoming bout on July 12 was first announced three weeks ago, meaning she had less than a month to prepare. Despite this, she isn’t fazed by the short notice bout.
“Three weeks is definitely a short notice camp, but I’m just happy to be here. I’m taking whatever fights ONE Championship is giving me – I’m gunning for that title.”
“So whoever you wanna bring me, I’m just gonna do my best to take them out and get to the top.”
Bi Nguyen will be facing Burmese powerhouse Bozhena Antoniyar, who has finished all her victories by knockout. The American has studied her opponent and expects a heated battle, but explains why she will be the one to walk away with the victory.
“I am expecting a hell of a fight from her, but in my opinion, I’m more well rounded and have more skills to be able to put her away. She definitely has the grit, so it’s not going to be an easy finish for me. Either way, the fans are going to be in for a treat and it’s going to be fun for me.”
ONE Championship is growing exponentially across the globe, with more people being able to view their content each and every day.
Rumors of a potential show in the United States in the years to come has the mixed martial arts community intrigued.
Since the promotion is expanding, Nguyen would not only like to welcome them to the United States but her homeland of Vietnam.
“I’m very excited about bringing ONE Championship to my home country of Vietnam.”
“I have my own personal dream that [after] ONE Championship go to Vietnam, they will come to the [United] States. That would be heaven for me – having a huge ONE Championship event in the States. I think the States is ready for it and ONE would make a world of difference in the community that is much needed.”
Bi Nguyen’s promotional debut was fireworks.
The American used her grappling ability to take the fight to canvas, mount, and eventually finish with strikes. When asked about her upcoming fight, “Killer Bee” stated that she could see similarities in comparison to her last.
“I see it very similar to the first fight [in ONE]. I see it going to the ground and I see my ground game being superior. I think one of my biggest strengths is my ground and pound specifically” said the 29-year-old. That’s where I thrive and that’s where I love to be.”
“What I envision is being pushed, being smart and getting the finish.”
Bi Nguyen vs. Bozhena Antoniyar is scheduled for ONE: Masters of Destiny, July 12.
Steven specialises in MMA and Lethwei. He loves a good 1-2 down the middle.