It’s a return to native roots for Bi Nguyen this weekend, as ONE Championship rolls into Vietnam
Nguyen’s personal story outside of the sport is a truly humbling but also an inspiring one, as the Houston resident becomes a beacon for hope and perseverance in the mixed-martial-arts community worldwide. After initially moving to California with her family from Vietnam, Nguyen made the move to Houston, Texas during her teenage years. Over the course of a five-year relationship, Nguyen was subjected to both physical and mental abuse from her partner, who was subsequently jailed as a result. The 29-year-old also competed on the popular American reality television show Survivor, with a niggling knee injury halting her progression on the show.Friday in Ho Chi Minh, marks ONE Championship’s first foray into the Vietnamese market, as the Phu Tho indoor stadium plays host to ONE: Immortal Triumph. A certain atomweight contender makes her long-awaited return to her Vietnam roots this weekend, as Bi ‘Killer Bee’ Nguyen clashes with India’s Puja Tomar in a Muay Thai contest. Honing her craft with Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Nguyen makes the walk for the third time under the ONE Championship banner, after signing with the promotion earlier this year.
With three years of professional experience under her belt along with nine contests, Nguyen has displayed vast maturity beyond her record. The previously mentioned move to Houston introduced Nguyen to mixed-martial-arts training and in particular, Muay Thai. After just over half a year on the mats, Nguyen began her amateur assault. By the time 2016 rolled around, Nguyen had began her professional career, off the back of six wins and a single defeat, displaying some eye-catching striking and grappling skills to boot. Before her move to Singapore’s ONE Championship, Nguyen competed in the regional North American circuit with promotions such as Legacy Fighting Championship and King Of The Cage.
Making good on her ONE Championship call up in April, ‘Killer Bee’, then competing at the strawweight limit of 115 pounds, exacted a ground and pound beating of Indonesia’s Dwi Anu Retno Wulan to claim an opening round debut victory. Some early clinch work and leg kicks set up a successful body lock takedown for Nguyen who carved through for full mount via a short elbow. Following up with slashing elbows, Wulan eventually gave up her back as Nguyen forced a stoppage via strikes.
Just three months later, Nguyen found herself under the bright lights once more, as she clashed with Bozhena Antoniyar. Dropping her first promotional defeat to the Myanmar native, Nguyen found herself on the wrong side of a split decision result. Precision was the name of the game for Nyugen throughout the first round exchanges, as she countered Antoniyar’s step in jab with a left hand, which dropped the striker inside the opening minute. For the following two rounds, neither Nguyen or Antoniyar took a backward step in some exciting striking exchanges, with ‘Killer Bee’ outlanding. Despite the apparent successful strikes and prior knockdown, two out of three judges scored the bout in favor of Antoniyar.
This weekend in Ho Chi Minh not only marks Bi Nyugen’s return to competition, but also her premier contest in her birthplace, a moment she wished to share with her late father. Before appearing on Survivor, Nguyen explained how her father, an avid mixed-martial-arts fan, had lost his battle with cancer.