Martin Nguyen sacrifices Christmas family time to step up buildup for ONE Jakarta fight
Martin Nguyen eyes a rematch with featherweight champ Marat Gafurov if he wins over Kazunori Yokota in ONE: Quest for Power. Photo from ONE Championship

AUSTRALIAN mixed martial arts standout Martin Nguyen knows making sacrifices is part of his quest to become a world champion.

Aside from intense training, fighters like Nguyen spend time away from their families for months to prepare for fights. For his upcoming bout against former featherweight contender Kazunori Yokota, Nguyen is prepared to make one of the toughest sacrifices he’s ever done for a future title shot.

Nguyen, owner of a 7-1 card, faces off against Yokota in the co-headliner of ONE: Quest for Power on January 14 in Jakarta. For this high-profile clash, he’s spending Christmas and the rest of the Yuletide season away from his family to fully focus on his training. While he admits it’s a difficult choice, Nguyen believes it’s a sacrifice worth taking.

“The life of a fighter is difficult, but I understand that in order to be the best, fighters have to make certain sacrifices. Spending time away from friends and family to train isn’t easy,” Nguyen said.

“It’s part of being a professional fighter. A lot of sacrifices have been made. Training in December is one of them. I have to give up Christmas celebrations for this fight,” he added. “If I want to consider myself as a championship-quality fighter, I have to make that sacrifice. In the end, I will reap the fruits of my labor. Hard work cannot be denied forever.”

The 27-year-old Australian prospect believes that a win over Yokota will earn him a date with Marat Gafurov for the ONE Featherweight World Championship belt, which is why he’s all the more focused on training.

“I think a win over Yokota should solidify my position for a title shot. To clarify, I am not in a hurry. I will let my bosses decide because they have the final say for that matter. If they will give me a shot at the ONE Featherweight World Championship title, I am ready to suit up,” Nguyen declared.

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Both men are no strangers to Gafurov. Nguyen fell short to the highly-touted Russian combatant for the interim title in September 2015, while Yokota unsuccessfully challenged Gafurov this past May.

Nguyen sees himself in a must-win scenario as the winner of the marquee match-up might get a rematch with Gafurov in 2017.

“My mindset is the same every fight. Everyone is a title challenger, and everyone is capable of becoming a champion. It’s just a matter of who wants it more. I’m ready to put everything on the line to win this fight,” he said.

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