Most people couldn’t place Myanmar on a map. The Southeast Asian nation has a population of more than 50 million people making it the 26th most populated country in the world, but until recently it has been relatively isolated.
That’s because Myanmar was ruled by a military junta for 50 years, earning the country something akin to pariah status in the international community. It was during this period that Burmese mixed martial artist Aung La Nsang left his homeland to live in the United Status, but the political situation has improved dramatically since then.
ONE: Union of Warriors is set for the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon this Friday. During the days of the military regime, it would have been unthinkable for such a prestigious international sporting event to take place in Myanmar, but the country has gone from strength to strength since a democratic election in 2015.
La Nsang recently returned to Yangon for the first time in nearly 12 years for a ONE Championship press tour. As he prepares to face Egyptian Mohamel Ali, the middleweight says he is excited to be a part of Myanmar’s success story.
“I was born in Myitkyina in the northern state, but I grew up in Yangon two blocks away from where I’m going to be fighting. Myanmar is moving towards the right direction, it’s come a long way. We wouldn’t have this opportunity 20 years ago, 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago to do this.”