It’s no secret that ONE Championship is beating the UFC in Asia.
With a lockdown on Singapore, the ever-important ‘hub’ of mixed martial arts in the continent, ONE Championship is now planning to expand their reach even further. Just a few weeks ago, ONE Championship announced their full schedule for 2018, which includes inaugural events in South Korea and Japan.
Don’t mistake this as rushing, however. ONE Championship is comfortable in their own skin, and after staking their claim as a market leader in the Asian market, they are now in a position to expand, innovate and evolve.
Unprecedented growth and an equally unexpected approach
Despite ONE Championship's unprecedented growth can mainly be attributed to breaking barriers and taking risks unrequired of an organization of their stature.
The last month alone has seen the announcement of some of the most significant events in the short history of the organization, including the scheduling of several thrilling 'super fights' between champions and stars of the organization.
One of these recent announcements, an open-weight super bout between "The Burmese Python" Aung La N Sang and Alain Ngalani, has caught the eye of MMA media all around the world.
Aung La N Sang, after recently winning the ONE Middleweight world Championship from Vitaly Bigdash, will step up two weight divisions to battle Alain Ngalani. Ngalani, a four-time Muay Thai world heavyweight champion who is known for spectacular knockouts, recently finished Hideki Sekine in just 11 seconds at ONE Championship: Total Victory.
This matchup of 'David vs Goliath' proportions is a true spectacle for the fans in Myanmar. Newly crowned Aung La N Sang is a national hero and is widely regarded as their most successful athlete. A win against Ngalani would not only be a gigantic triumph but also hugely inspiring to the nation. On the other hand, losing to Ngalani would only generate respect for the courage and bravery of "The Burmese Python".
This announcement adds to the list of intense bouts that have been scheduled by ONE Championship for November, including an exciting cross-divisional battle between their featherweight and lightweight world champions. Martin Nguyen, the ONE Featherweight World Champion, will challenge ONE Lightweight World Champion in Manila at ONE: Legends of the World. Again, this is another premier fight put together by ONE Championship that fans weren't expecting.
Considering the relentless pursuit of consumer and spectator satisfaction, it shouldn't come as a surprise that ONE Championship is experiencing unprecedented growth in their key performance indicators.
What is most striking of these recent announcements, however, is that these fights not only match the suspense and anticipation of those at ONE: Immortal Pursuit, but they potentially surpass it too.
When ONE Championship announced ONE: Immortal Pursuit and the two thrilling title fights to go with it, it would undoubtedly go down as one of the biggest events in their history. The card features one of the most anticipated rematches in women's mixed martial arts, a rematch between Angela Lee and Mei Yamaguchi, and also Ben Askren's retirement fight against Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki.
Lee previously defeated Yamaguchi in a five-round thriller to win the ONE Women's Atomweight World Championship in 2016 and has never looked back. Yamaguchi has been the only opponent to come close to stopping the "Unstoppable" Angela Lee and now she'll get a chance to avenge her loss.
Ben Askren's retirement fight is also of enormous importance. Since winning the ONE Welterweight World Championship, Ben Askren has cleaned out the division from any and all challengers and will now be tested in a matchup between two proud grapplers.
At the time, it was thought that these two matchups were two of the best that ONE Championship could offer; and that was fine because they are both excellent fights. However, the two 'super fights' that have since been announced have proved that ONE Championship has several tricks up their sleeve.
With 24 events scheduled for 2018, things are only looking up for ONE Championship.
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