Mongolia is rich in cultural diversity and has produced some of the finest warriors in the history the world. One man who has embraced his heritage, and carries the pride of a nation on his shoulders each time he steps into the cage is ONE Featherweight World Champion, Narantungalag Jadambaa.
This Saturday, November 21, at the Gymnasium of National Olympic Sports Centre in Beijing, China, Jadambaa returns to the ONE Cage after more than a year away from active competition to defend his title against rising star and interim ONE Featherweight World Champion, Marat “Cobra” Gafurov of Russia.
The two fighters are set to unify the featherweight belts and determine who is king of ONE’s stacked featherweight division.
“I am super excited to fight in Beijing, and I am more than ready to fight the fight of my life,” said Jadambaa, who appears ready to face the monumental task that lies before him. “Marat Gafurov is undefeated and a very tough opponent. I know he is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist with a distinctive style, so this will be a challenge for me but one that I am very excited to take on.”
Jadambaa captured the ONE Featherweight World Championship with a unanimous decision over Koji Oishi at ONE: REIGN OF CHAMPIONS in August of last year. Since then, he’s represented his country as the first internationally recognized champion in mixed martial arts of direct Mongolian descent.
Despite his opponent’s intimidating pedigree, Jadambaa remains unfazed and supremely confident in walking away with the belt still strapped around his waist Saturday night.
Jadambaa excelled in many different martial arts before he found his way to MMA. Holding a black belt in both Karate and Judo, it was no surprise that he transitioned to maximize his experience in MMA.
“MMA is the hardest of all martial arts, as you are able to use all that you know and you never know what will hit you next. MMA is a tough sport and that’s why I chose it,” Jadambaa explained.
Of all the things going on in and around the build-up to a major fight — the media obligations, the appearances, the PR events and even the weigh-ins — there’s one thing that Jadambaa does best at and that’s pick a fight.
Gafurov is currently regarded as the best in the division, bar none. The former M-1 Kickboxing champion has made waves in his tenure as a ONE Championship featherweight. He’s undefeated in his professional career and won the first three fights in his stint with ONE Championship by rear naked choke submission.
“ONE has some of the best MMA athletes in the world,” said Jadambaa. “Being the featherweight champion means a lot to me because it has legitimized me as one of the best fighters in the world among the other international MMA fighters.”
When Jadambaa steps inside the ONE Cage with Gafurov on Saturday, he’ll look across the canvas at a man determined to snatch the belt away from him, to take from him all that he’s worked for.
“There’s just no way I’m letting my opponent walk out of the cage with my title,” exclaimed Jadambaa.
Jadambaa hopes that his success in MMA will continue to inspire more Mongolian athletes to train in mixed martial arts. The 40-year old champion is very proud of his roots as he attributes his life in Mongolia as the reason he is who he is today.
“Being able to represent my home country of Mongolia on the world stage of MMA, with a big audience such as that of ONE is a huge honor for me,” said Jadambaa. “I get tremendous support from my country. Although the fight is in Beijing, TV5 will be airing the event live so all my fans in Mongolia will be able to catch the action.”
“MMA has given me passion, it has given me life. My wish is to give back to the youth in our country. I hope I can inspire a future generation of world champions to come with my performance.”
ONE WUJIE: DYNASTY OF CHAMPIONS II (Beijing) will be broadcast live by TV5 to fans in Mongolia from the Gymnasium of National Olympic Sports Centre this 21 November and will feature two featherweight stars, Marat Gafurov of Russia and Narantungalag Jadambaa of Mongolia going head-to-head in a scheduled five-round main event to unify the ONE Featherweight World Championship.
The card will also feature an exciting co-main event as Adriano “Black Diamond” Moraes defends his ONE Flyweight World Championship against the undefeated Kairat Akhmetov.