January 2011 will mark one year since Australia’s Adrian Pang fought South Korea’s Nam Yui Chul to a draw at Legend Fighting Championship 1. Fight fans hailed it as one of the best lightweight fights in the region, and on January 27, both men will return to the Legend ring for a rematch to prove who the superior fighter truly is. Pang, now the lightweight champ, will be defending his title against the man that he went the distance with at the first Legend Show.
Adrian, a native of Papau New Guinea, gave us a few moments to discuss his strategy for this showdown and talk about fighting in China, representing his homeland and the international view of MMA.
Fight Nerd: How are you preparing to fight Nam Yui Chul?
Adrian: I take every fight seriously, and I’m preparing for Nam in the same way that I prepare for any opponent. The first fight was really tough, and I went in knowing less about him than I wanted to. This time, I have a better sense of him as an opponent. Of course, both he and I have both gotten better over the past year, but I’m confident I have what it takes to beat him.
Fight Nerd: You and Nam fought to a draw at the first Legend FC show. What are you going to do to make sure there is a clear winner this time?
Adrian: I’m going to go in there and fight my fight. He’s going to be facing an improved version of me, and I’ve got a couple of surprises for him. I have no intention of giving up my championship belt.
Fight Nerd: Who do you think won your first fight with him, or do you agree with the draw?
Hit the jump for the rest of the interview, including his thoughts on growing up in tribal Papau New Guinea and info on the MMA scene in Australia!
Adrian: I watched video of the fight again recently, and I agree that it was a draw. I think he won the first two rounds based on point scoring, and then I clearly took the third. There were several fouls, which he was warned for, and then the referee rightfully took away a point from him. That said, I’m looking forward to the rematch to prove myself against him.
Fight Nerd: Tell us a little about growing up in Papua New Guinea (and that spear wound scar I read about) and how that shaped your life.
Adrian: Papua New Guinea was a pretty rough place when I was growing up. There were a lot of conflicts, and I quickly established a reputation for being willing to fight and defend my family and myself under any circumstances. In one of those situations, I came away with the wound you’ve heard about. Those years had a huge impact on me: they made me a lot stronger as a person, and gave me the toughness I carry into all of my fights with me. I still have a deep connection with Papua New Guinea: a lot of my family are still there, and the community is really supportive of me and what I’ve achieved in MMA. I hope that I can continue to make them proud.
Fight Nerd: How did you first become a fan of MMA, and what led you to fight?
Adrian: Bruce Lee was one of my childhood idols, and it was following his example and philosophy that led me to MMA. Honestly, I was also pretty sick of hearing some of the talk in the martial arts community, where people would claim that their style was superior and that they could beat anyone, but they wouldn’t back up their talk with action. MMA offered me a chance to test myself and prove how good I really was.
Fight Nerd: What is the MMA scene like in Australia, and what was it like five years before that?
Adrian: The MMA scene in Australia is thriving now. There are a lot more promotions starting up, and a lot more people training and competing. I think that the opportunities to compete at all levels — from amateur to professional — are a great driver for the sport. Even as recently as a few years ago, no one really knew what it was. There was a core group of us who would all train and compete. It’s nice to see the sport starting to get the recognition it deserves, and I’m proud to be part of it.
Fight Nerd: Please thank your gym and any sponsors if you would like.
Adrian: I’d like to thank my team, Integrated MMA, and my sponsors: Fairtex, ASN (Australian Sports Nutrition), All Type Cabinets, and Tapout.
Fight Nerd: Do you have any last words you want to tell Nam Yui Chul and the international viewers of Legend FC 4?
Adrian: I have nothing to say to my opponent. I’ll make my point during the fight. But I’m really looking forward to putting on a show for the fans. To them, I’d like to say: thank you for your continuing support of the sport we all love. None of this would be possible without you.
Stay tuned later this week with an interview with his opponent, Nam Yul Chul of South Korea! You can catch Legend FC 4 on Friday, January 28 at 8 PM ET, with an immediate replay after, on pay-per-view. For more info, head to LegendFC.com.