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Casey Suire: Padding a career on meat fights will not force you to improve

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With all 3 fights under ONE Championship held against hometown fighters, fighting against hometown heroes is no strange matter for Indonesian-based American Casey Suire. However, on the 27 September, Suire will fight with the crowd cheering for him for the first time in his international career.

“The fight card on September 27 is one of the best I’ve seen put together by ONE Championship, and I’m a super excited to be able to fight in Jakarta in front of the many friends that I have made here in my home away from home over the past 5 years. I’ve kind of been portrayed as the enemy in my first three ONE Championship fights, so it will be nice to feed off the energy of the crowd this time,” Suire said.

The road hasn’t always been smooth for the [38]-year old Louisianan. In April this year, he was defeated for the first time in his professional career fighting against Mark Striegl.

“The fight against Striegl was a setback, but sometimes we need experience failure to enable ourselves to achieve real growth. Simply stated, I hate to lose and the bitter taste of my last fight is enough to remind me that I need to work harder in every aspect of the fight if I want to be successful.”

His loss 5 months ago and fighting on home ground does not grant him an easy fight either. Suire will face a highly heralded Tajik prospect Muin Gafurov, who is 5-0 and submits all of his past opponents within the first round and will be making his debut in ONE Championship.

“There is no point in accepting easy fights at this stage of my career, especially if I want to make noise in the division. Padding a career on meat fights will not force you to improve, or earn you any respect along the way and I would love to be able to look back and be proud of my career regardless of my final record. Muin is 5-0 or 7-0, and on a tear right now. He is a great young fighter with a similar style to Striegl, so I’m getting a second shot at implementing my game-plan that I failed to in my last outing, so it was an easy decision to take the fight.

[But] every fight camp is approached in the same manner, with a goal to improve in every possible area to allow me the best chance of success. I’m working with the fight team at Bali MMA for a second time, and I have a much better understanding of the team and what it takes to accomplish my goals. I do feel a sense of urgency to get back on the winning track, but that internal pressure gives me the extra push in everything I do to prepare for Muin. I look forward to the opportunity to pay it forward and take his “0” away.”

Casey Suire will face Muin Gafurov on One Championship – Odyssey of Champions on 27th September in Istora Senaya, Jakarta, Indonesia

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Highest Ranked Strawweight Outside of the UFC challenged Angela Lee to a title fight in One Championship

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28 Years Old, Zhang Weili(16-1) from China has challenged Strawweight champion Angela Lee for her strap in One Championship according to a source close to the Chinese fighter. Zhang who is the champion and fighting for Chinese based promotion Kunlun FC is currently negotiating on a one fight deal to face Angela. According to the source, they would like to determine who is the best women fighter in Asia in a one-off match and would have no problems to fight under the One Championship banner.

Zhang Weili(Left) at Kunlun FC 12

Since her pro debut loss in 2013, Zhang has racked up 16 wins in 3 years with a total of 15 finishes. She is the number #6 ranked women strawweight in the World according to Fightmatrix.com, just behind Rose Namajunas who will be facing UFC champion and number #1 ranked strawweight Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the title next month. Angela, on the other hand, is 9 rungs below Zhang at number 15.

Fightmatrix rankings as per 9/10/2017

While ONE was very eager to have a cross-promotion fight between Angela Lee and Joanna Jedrzejczyk to determine who has the better strawweight, they seem less eager to have a Kunlun FC champion on board for a one fight deal. The source states that ONE would need for Zhang to sign a 2-year exclusive contract first before discussing further for a fight with Angela.

If the source is accurate, ONE seems to be covering their bases this time and would not like for their champion to lose the belt to another promotion without securing Zhang on an exclusive contract. Kunlun, on the other hand, would also not want to lose their best fighter to another Asian promotion. Zhang would be a huge asset to ONE for their expansion in China but it would be tough for them to pry off the Chinese fighter as the source states that Zhang is being paid handsomely on Kunlun FC.

While things are looking bleak for a match between Angela Lee and Zhang Weili to happen in the ONE Championship cage, the fans will be keeping their fingers crossed and hope that they could witness a fight between two of the best women Strawweights in Asia.

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Martin Nguyen to challenge Eduard Folayang’s title in Manila for the first champion vs champion fight in ONE Championship

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After speculations on who Martin Nguyen’s next opponent when he signed a fight contract, ONE Championship have confirmed that Martin Nguyen is set to challenge Eduard Folayang’s lightweight title in Manila on ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD on 10 November.

The fight is the latest in a series of cross-division fights announced after Shinya Aoki vs Ben Askren and Aung La NSang vs Alain Ngalani, but this will be the first time the reigning ONE Championship titleholders from two weight divisions will clash.

Nguyen’s coach, Fari Salievski, did tease on the idea of Nguyen fighting for the title in different weight divisions , but he teased on a bantamweight division since Martin was underweight for his featherweight title fight against Marat Gafurov.

Despite being on the lighter side of a featherweight division, the new champion decided to challenge the title against a fighter a weight class above him, and opens the possibility of the first fighter in ONE Championship to challenge the title in 3 weight divisions.

“I’m not out only to make a statement, but to go down in history as the best to ever compete under the ONE Championship banner” – Martin Nguyen

ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD will be held in Malls of Asia Arena in Manila on 10 November 2017

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Bashir Ahmad embraces new role in ONE Championship

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Bashir Ahmad is appointed as the Senior Manager of Industry Partnerships, the role made to develop and strengthen the relationships between ONE Championship and various MMA gyms and promotions.

“EssentiallyI see myself doing what I did in Pakistan and working to accelerate the growth of MMA in Asia with other players in the MMA scene,” Ahmad explained.

As the pioneer of Pakistani MMA, Bashir Ahmad has worked to promote MMA in Pakistan, most notably the Shaheen Gym project, a non-profit gym which serves to take at-risk youth off the street with the appeal and focus of MMA. With his new position in ONE, Ahmad believes he will be better positioned to develop MMA in Asia, particularly in his hometown Pakistan.

“I think it’s a win-win. I’ve learned about developing MMA in a really difficult market – Pakistan, and I bring that experience with me.”

“On the flip side, I get work with one of the world’s most professional martial arts brands and bring those lessons to my mission in Pakistan.”

4-3 on his professional MMA career, Ahmad has been fighting for ONE Championship since April 2013 and became the first ONE Championship athlete to make the transition from into the management role in the promotion. Despite this additional role, Ahmad is adamant that his new role in ONE Championship does not take him away from active competition.

“100% not retired. I can certainly train. If Martin can beat Gafurov while being a full-time mechanic, I can certainly train when I work in the MMA industry for a living. It’s about time management and training smart.”

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