Ever since he stunned Marat Gafurov to capture the ONE featherweight title back in 2017, Martin Nguyen has always had a target on his back. But, rather than waiting for the challengers to come to him, he’s been pushing for fights with the most dangerous men in the division.

Nguyen (13-3) explained that he had picked out a shortlist of top contenders and given it to ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong to help get him matched up in his next title defense as easily as possible.

One matchup that looked to be on the table was a title clash with grappling ace Garry Tonon, who has gone undefeated since transitioning to MMA with ONE Championship. But Nguyen explained that, despite accepting Tonon’s challenge, that bout didn’t come to fruition.

“Yeah, most definitely (I’d fight Garry),” he told MMA Junkie. “Garry is part of the five people that were on my list to fight. Chatri has that list, but yeah, I said I would fight Garry Tonon. I accepted a bout on my end (but) I don’t know what happened at his end, or if ONE Championship staff didn’t think that he was ready yet. But the stars will align and, when that day comes, yeah, it’s gonna be fireworks, definitely.

“But this next bout is going to be fireworks (too). Hopefully, if everything goes well and this coronavirus passes through, I’ll be versing Thanh Le.”

Le’s clinical knockout performances since joining ONE have marked him out as a clear and present danger to “The Situ-Asian’s” featherweight title reign. Le (11-2) is 3-0 in ONE Championship, with all three wins coming by knockout in a combined time of just 4:31.

Nguyen says that explosive finishing potential should mesh well with his own and deliver a spectacular fight for the fans.

“This one’s going to be a cracker of a fight,” he said. “I cant wait to showcase everything that I’ve learned. He’s going to be getting three camps’ worth of Martin Nguyen, so we’ll see what happens.”

Both Nguyen and Le are of Vietnamese heritage, and the Australian said he’s already pitched the possibility of their fight taking place in Vietnam in what would be the first major global title fight to be held in the nation, which only legalized MMA in February.

“I did make a suggestion, and it would make a killer of a sell-out show if there was anyone was allowed to attend the fight,” he explained. “I did say that me and my opponent in Vietnam would be a killer event, since I heard MMA had just been legalized there. So we’ll see what happens, man.”

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