Aung La Nsang, a.k.a. the “Burmese Python”, is going through some last-minute moves as he readies himself for Friday’s ONE Championship bout against Polish middleweight Michal Pasternak in Rangoon. He took a time-out from training to talk to DVB about his early memories of growing up in Kachin State before his family emigrated to USA, and about his love of Mixed Martial Arts.
Question: What are your earliest memories of living here in Burma?
A: My earliest memory was growing up in the village in Myitkyina and being so secluded and isolated from everybody. I’d never met a white person or any foreign people until I was in Yangon [Rangoon]. So I was very timid around foreigners and very shy. Living in a Kachin village and in a big family we didn’t have any foreigners come in, so it was quiet and secluded.
Q: What’s your reaction to hear about the fighting in your homeland Kachin State?
A: It really breaks my heart and makes me really sad. Maybe me winning and showing them– it will give them hope. But it really saddens me that this fighting is still going on.
Q: Are you currently training other fighters from Burma?
A: Yes, I have a couple of fighters that came down from New York to train with me in Baltimore where I have my own gym and they are doing really well. We’ve been training for the last six months, so they should be up and coming. They are ethnic Chins.
Q: Is Mixed Martial Arts rising in popularity?
A: For sure. It is now a mainstream sport. Before when I first started fighting–ten years ago–nobody knew about it; now it’s become more mainstream and accepted.
Q: Do you think it is still seen as just a violent sport?
A: Some people still see it that way. But if you train and understand the art of it, there is a lot more than just the violence. Such as the techniques that go into a punch, the techniques that go into a submission, the techniques that go into the ground game. It’s fast and beautiful in my opinion.
Q: What’s your ambition?
A: My goal is to be world champion and to bring that world championship title back to Myanmar. So that’s my goal and that’s what I am working towards.
Q: What do you think is your advantage going into the fight this week over your opponent?
A: I think I have an advantage in almost every aspect. I feel I am more experienced than he is.
Q: Anything else you’d like to say?
A: I just want to thank everybody for the support I am getting here in Myanmar. It means a lot to me, and I want to fight the best that I can.