Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon has taken ONE Championship's featherweight division by storm.
Since making his mixed martial arts debut in March 2018, the American has bulldozed his way through the weight class, as he claimed five stoppage victories in all five of his career bouts.
With his confidence running at an all-time high, Tonon — a multi-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion — is hopeful he will get a crack at ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen by the end of 2019.
“I don’t know. I heard mixed things, I heard some whispers that [Nguyen] could potentially be my next fight, and I heard some other people say we’re going to give me one more [bout first],” Tonon said.
“If I had to lean one way or the other, I think they’re going to give me one more [opponent]. I’m not sure who would be one step above Nakahara. Eventually, they’re going to have to give me that World Title shot.”
Few would disagree that Tonon is a worthy challenger to Nguyen.
Before ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON, the 27-year-old stated that Yoshiki Nakahara was his toughest opponent to date.
The result proved otherwise, as the American locked in a classic heel hook submission to force his Japanese rival to submit at 55 seconds of the opening stanza.
“In many ways, it was [the toughest opponent]. Maybe not the actual fight itself, but the preparation, the level of opponent – everything like that,” Tonon continued.
“You’ve got to treat every single one of these things like it’s very serious business and, if anything, I treated it more serious than any of the previous [bouts]. What you saw out there was just a product of that dedication to preparation leading up to the fight.”
When asked how he would fare against Nguyen, “The Lion Killer” replied that he would not struggle against the Australian titleholder.
Although he viewed “The Situ-Asian” as a complex opponent, he is confident he could oust the seemingly-unstoppable featherweight king.
“I would feel very confident. Looking at Martin Nguyen – impressive resume, impressive fighter, and he’s been able to defeat some highly skilled specialists in mixed martial arts by having a good mixture of skills,” he said.
“It presents a very interesting challenge. When I look at his fights – and I do this with all of my opponents – he looks beatable to me. This looks like a challenge I could conquer, but it would be a very different kind of challenge I would say then all of my previous fights.”