Garry Tonon feels he’s fighting for more than just a win or a loss on his record this Sunday.
The standout grappler thinks his upcoming fight against Martin Nguyen is an unofficial No. 1 contender bout in the featherweight division. Tonon (8-1) and Nguyen (15-6) are scheduled to fight at ONE Championship 165, which goes down at Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan. If victorious, Tonon sees himself getting another shot at the ONE Championship title.
“I don’t really see too many options for ONE Championship even if they didn’t want that for whatever reason, but I don’t know why (they wouldn’t),” Tonon told MMA Junkie. “I feel like it’s going to be the thing that makes the most sense, assuming I win this fight.
“Thanh Le and Tang Kai are going to fight each other. The only thing that can happen – maybe, I guess – I mean, I would’ve won three fights in a row so it would seem kind of weird to me, but the only thing that I suppose you can argue is that Thanh could lose to Tang Kai and then maybe they can ask me to fight Thanh instead of Tang Kai, but then who fights Tang Kai?”
Tonon is currently on a two-fight winning streak since losing to Thanh Le in a ONE Championship featherweight title fight. He has not been explicitly told by the organization that he’s up next if he were to get his hand raised this weekend. However, he just doesn’t see anyone better suited for the job if he defeats Nguyen.
The 32-year-old knows Nguyen is dangerous, but he plans on making a statement by submitting him.
“I don’t think he’s ever faced someone like me before,” Tonon explained. “Maybe that’s a bit of an ego-driven statement, but he has dealt with a ton of types of different challenges of elite level competition, and he’s done exceptionally well. He’s risen to the occasion. … I like my chances, of course. I don’t think he has the grappling skills to deal with the things I’m going to throw at him. The way I see this fight going is the way I see every fight going. We start by punching each other in the face, we clinch up, and I eventually put this guy down, lay some punishment and submit him. That’s the way I see this fight going.”