In a sport where your biggest competitor has a foothold on the industry, it can be a hard to stand out. So many have tried before, and often it becomes a case of imitation being the highest form of flattery. In North America, there is a clear top company in mixed martial arts. As other promoters try to play catch up, there has been an explosion across the Asian market.

ONE FC and CEO Victor Cui lead that explosion. The promotion has taken the best of the others that have tried before them and has created a mixed martial arts event that sees thousands of fans packing arenas throughout Asia. The promotion may not have the star power of its Western competitor, but there are two things that the companies share: confidence and a high-quality product that they plan to share with fans all across the globe.

“ONE FC will become the biggest and the best MMA promotion in the world,” Cui predicted in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “Our growth has been so explosive that if we continue on this path, we will be able to reach such heights in a very short time.

“It has been absolutely crazy. ONE FC has seen such exponential growth within the two years we started holding events. We have gotten some of the top blue-chip partners in every market we go to, as well as unbelievable media coverage and creating such a huge buzz among fans.”

For Cui, the ONE FC experience isn’t just about putting on fights that fans all around the world can enjoy. It’s about the live show in itself, and that is something that he has been working hard to perfect over ONE FC’s last 11 events.

“ONE FC is about providing [and] putting on world-class entertainment for fans of all ages to enjoy,” Cui explained. “ONE FC combines the extravagance of a Las Vegas performance with the sporting excellence of the Olympics or World Cup to create a unique show that has the audience on the edge of their seats.”

It’s not often that an event goes off without some kind of hitch. Like just about any mixed martial arts show, ONE FC 11 had its fair share of controversies. There was a split decision that could have gone either way and a bout between Khim Dima and Rene Catalan that saw multiple illegal strikes. The result of the latter—a win via strikes for Dima—was overturned to a no-contest by ONE FC.

“We were proactive to change the decision of the Dima and Catalan bout because a clear infringement has been made and [ONE FC] have suspended the referee [Kenichi Serizawa] in charge of that bout,” Cui revealed. “ONE FC emphasizes top-level competition and officiating. We will continue to monitor the performance of our officials moving forward.”

With such a wealth of talent scattered throughout the Asian region, ONE FC prides itself on being committed to building the careers of fighters who would usually struggle to find an avenue to showcase their skills. As the company has grown larger, though, the opportunity to sign talent that has been cast off from the other major promotions around the world has also presented itself.

“It is always a balance of name recognition against giving a young and hungry fighter the opportunity to compete in ONE FC. We will definitely continue to look at any options that make sense to us,” Cui said. “We have so many stars coming out of countries that nobody has thought of in the past.

“Adam Kayoom is on the verge of becoming Malaysia’s first MMA world champion with a victory over Nobutatsu Suzuki on Nov. 15. He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Ricardo Liborio and is highly ranked in Muay Thai as well before [he started] competing in mixed martial arts. Philippines is a hotbed of mixed martial arts talents, such as our former ONE FC featherweight world champion, Honorio Banario, and Kevin Belingon, both of whom are already so skilled at such a young age.”

On Nov. 15, ONE FC puts on its sixth event of the year in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The main event will see Kayoom and Suzuki face off to determine the promotion’s first welterweight champion. It’d be easy to get wrapped up in the title fight, but there is more to this card than just a championship bout.

“This card is very exciting. We have Melvin Yeoh vs. A.J. Lias Mansor. Both of them are pioneers in the MMA industry in Malaysia, and it will be exciting to see who the top featherweight in the country is,” Cui said. “Peter Davis, Saiful Merican, Chen Yun Ting and Gianni Subba will also look to put on a show in front of their hometown fans.”

In order to continue their success, Cui and ONE FC certainly see the value in building up the stars of the future.

“We have many up-and-coming guys and there is already a buzz about them, like Gianni Subba, Chen Yun Ting and Geje Eustaquio,” he said. “We expect to unearth even more future stars through the recently launched ONE FC Asia Amateur Series, which will host numerous shows across Asia for amateur fighters beginning next year. The series will provide a platform for amateurs to compete and demonstrate their ability before progressing to ONE FC.”

With ONE FC laying claim to being the dominant force in mixed martial arts in the Asian region, the next step for the company is to continue to expand into the sport’s most lucrative market of North America. At this stage, fans can view ONE FC through internet pay-per-view, but Cui is ensuring that his company continues to expand across the globe.

“We recently signed a blockbuster deal with Catalyst Media Group as our exclusive content distributor from 2014 onwards. The team led by Patrick Murphy is the best in the business, and we will work closely with them to bring ONE FC to every country in the world,” Cui explained. “Australia is definitely a market that we are interested in. The fans are so passionate and knowledgeable about the sport, and you can expect ONE FC to hold a show there in the future.”

With ONE FC’s product continually in the spotlight, it’s not going to take long for the promotion to have its high-quality shows seen in more homes around the world. Having confidence is one thing, but being able to back it up is something completely different. Cui has his eyes set on world domination. So far, with everything that ONE FC has achieved in its short two-year history, he has shown that he is indeed heading along that path.

Follow Victor Cui on Twitter: @victorcui, as well as ONE FC: @ONEFCMMA.

Photo: Victor Cui (Sherdog)