There are sporting achievements that some people will never get to experience firsthand. Winning a grand final for a season is something that not all teams will do, and some athletes will work away for years to fall short when the big game comes along.

Martin Nguyen has had that “big game” feeling before, and whilst the football boots may now be switched for gloves, he knows that he is just one “grand final” win away from securing his first mixed martial arts title as a professional.

“It’s just such an adrenaline rush in there,” Nguyen exclaimed in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “It’s like playing the grand final in football every time you step in the cage, and the more you train and the better you get, the more you win, and then the more you just wanna keep on doing it. The feeling that you get when you win is amazing, and knock on wood I don’t get to know what losing is like.”

Training with Nguyen at KMA Top Team in Sydney is multiple Australian title-holder Corey Nelson, who narrowly missed out on being included in the next country vs. country season of The Ultimate Fighter. Having such a dominant force from the Australian circuit in his corner means that Nguyen has a vast array of experience to draw from, and it’s certainly not something that he takes for granted.

“I really wanna follow [Nelson’s] lead,” Nguyen admitted. “Corey is heading on to big things, and I wanna be there every step of the way. In the lead-up to this fight, he has been there helping me out and sharing the experience that he has. He helps me keep level-headed, and he is always telling me how to get better and he is more than willing to help out.

“I am forever thankful for what he, along with the rest of the team, does for me. We don’t only focus on the positive, we focus on the negatives [of my game] too because if you don’t, and that negative happens inside the cage, you’re gone.”

The next fight for the undefeated featherweight takes place in Canberra, Australia on Nov. 29. He meets Luke Standing for the BRACE featherweight title. After two successful outings under the BRACE banner, Nguyen not only plans to leave the nation’s capital with a new belt around his waist, but also a chance to take his career to a whole new level.

“I’ve had my eye on [Standing] for a while now. We are both undefeated, and I think that the winner of this fight is shooting straight to the top of the featherweight division in Australia,” Nguyen exclaimed. “BRACE is well-known, and winning this is something that will get our names out there, and I know that the winner will be right up there with the likes of Rob Lisita.

“This fight is a big stepping stone for me. I have never done five rounds in a fight before, and winning this belt will be a big self-achievement, and bringing the belt home will be like paying the boys back for all the hard work we’ve done in the gym.”

In most sports, a “grand final” only happens once a year. It’s a time of the year that competitors look forward to from the day that they begin their preseason. And when that day rolls around for the lucky few who get to compete for what their whole year has worked towards, it’s something that brings out a whole different style of competitor.

Going into his BRACE bout, Nguyen knows all too well what it feels like to win, and being that he is just one “grand final” success away from his career skyrocketing, you can bet that he will be heading into his Nov. 29 clash ensuring that his preseason and all the work that he has put into his career hasn’t gone to waste. In his eyes, there is no next season and there is no way that he is leaving Canberra without his hand being raised.

Martin would like to thank Monsta Supplements, Fighters Against Child Abuse Australia (F.A.C.A.A), Rankd Apparel and Flames Charcoal Chicken. He would also like to thank KMA Top Team as well as his beautiful wife and kids. Follow Nguyen on Twitter: @MartinNguyenKMA and follow BRACE on Twitter: @BRACEMMA

Photo: Martin Nguyen (

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.