Aung La N Sang faces a formidable obstacle in his pursuit of a return to prominence.
The former One Championship middleweight and light heavyweight titleholder will tangle with Nova Uniao export Leandro Ataides in the “Battleground” headliner on Friday at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. Sang, 36, steps back into the cage on the heels of back-to-back losses. He last appeared at One on TNT 4, where he surrendered his light heavyweight crown to undefeated Dutch grappler Reinier de Ridder on April 28.
As Sang makes final preparations for his forthcoming battle with Ataides, here are five things you might not know about him:
1. He gives back to the hands that once fed him.
Sang was born on May 21, 1985 in Myitkyina, Myanmar—a city of some 200,000 people on the west bank of the Ayeyarwady River. As one of the Asian nation’s most accomplished athletes, he has emerged as a national hero due to his exploits in the cage and his considerable philanthropic efforts. Sang moved to the United States in 2004 and later earned a degree in agriculture science from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan.
2. He cut his teeth as a mixed martial artist in America.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu paved Sang’s way to mixed martial arts. He made his professional debut on May 21, 2005 and lost to Emerson Rushing by first-round technical knockout at a Total Fight Challenge event in Hammond, Indiana. Sang’s first 25 bouts took place in America—he was 15-9 with one no contest—and saw him compete in a variety of well-known organizations, from King of the Cage and Ring of Combat to Bellator MMA and Cage Fury Fighting Championships.
3. Relocation plans worked wonders for him.
Sang signed with One Championship in 2014 and now ranks as one of its most successful competitors. He owns an 11-3 record with the Singapore-based promotion and remains one of only three fighters—de Ridder and Martin Nguyen are the others—in its history to hold titles in multiple weight classes simultaneously.
4. He does battle with a two-edged sword.
“The Burmese Python” boasts 24 finishes among his 26 career victories: 12 by submission and 12 more by knockout or technical knockout. His list of victims includes Brandon Vera, Ken Hasegawa (twice), Aleksei Butorin and Chris Price.
5. Consistency became a defining trait.
In a career that now spans more than 16 years, Sang has never lost more than two fights in a row. Meanwhile, the Sanford MMA rep has put together winning streaks of three, four, five and seven fights.
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