“The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang has used his success in ONE Championship to become an icon in his birthplace of Myanmar, and the 33-year-old says he won’t take his rare position for granted.
Aung La N Sang will put his ONE Middleweight World Title on the line against Mohammad “O Lutador” Karaki in the main event of ONE: PURSUIT OF GREATNESS, and says he remains focused on his role as World Champion, and is determined to maintain his place at the top.
“I’m hungrier than ever,” he says ahead of his match on Friday, 26 October in Yangon, Myanmar.
“As a champion, I’m getting the opportunity to live a better life and to be a better martial artist.”
The two-weight ONE World Champion may be one of the biggest stars in the organization and a national hero in Myanmar, but he still manages to remain grounded and strives to continue being a role model to his fans.
“I don’t really think into that too much. I take it day by day, fight by fight,” Aung La N Sang explains.
“Being a two-division champion is an honour, but I don’t let it get to my head. I still got a lot of improvement I need to make in my game. I still have to become a better athlete, and I still have to become a better martial artist.
“There are so many things that I have to work on that I don’t really think of myself like, ‘I’m the double champ, I’m so good.’ I really don’t. I try to get better every day. I try to become a better version of myself every day.”
Top athletes are often thought of as role models, but the adoration and expectation attached to Aung La N Sang is at an extraordinarily high level.
“The Burmese Python” is Myanmar’s first sporting world champion, and a whole nation supports him every time he steps into the cage.
He admits the pressure level is hard to cope with.
“When you’re under the microscope by an entire country, it is tough,” he says.
“I just try to walk the right path in my life. Of course, everybody strays from their path, but you’ve just got to do the best you can do. That’s what I try to do. I try to walk the right path and if I stray, I try to get back on track and keep walking.”
His latest title defence will see him return to Myanmar’s home of martial arts, the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium, where Aung La N Sang has never lost. But despite his undefeated run on home soil, he knows he cannot take victory for granted.
Myanmar’s martial arts fans will be flocking to the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium to roar on their man once again, and though victory is far from assured, “The Burmese Python” will enter the cage on 26 October having prepared himself to the fullest.
“That’s why I train hard every day to become a better version of myself,” he says.
“As a champion, I’ve got to keep improving. I’ve got to keep evolving. I’ve got to keep getting better and better or else somebody is going to take over and take my place. It’s a journey for myself. I’m trying to improve myself.
“I don’t have to compare myself to anybody. I take the responsibility as a champion seriously. So, being a champion, I try to keep improving and evolving.”