Martin Nguyen was born and raised in Sydney to refugee parents, who had fled from Vietnam by way of Malaysia and Indonesia. After a promising rugby career, Nguyen took up martial arts at the comparatively late age of 21, and has never looked back, winning two amateur tournaments before deciding to make his professional debut in 2012.
Nguyen quickly took the featherweight division by storm, winning an eight-man tournament to be crowned Australia’s BRACE MMA Featherweight Champion. After that achievement, Nguyen made a successful debut for ONE Championship in 2014. However, in his next bout, he unsuccessfully faced Marat Gafurov for the ONE Interim Featherweight World Championship on short notice, suffering his first and only loss.
The defeat spurred Nguyen on, leading him to four consecutive first-round stoppage wins over top talents the likes of Edward Kelly, Li Kai Wen, Christian Lee, and veteran Japanese Champion Kazunori Yokota. This earned him an epic rematch against Gafurov in August 2017, where Martin prevailed over the Russian in the second round to be crowned the ONE Featherweight World Champion.
Mere months later on 10 November, Nguyen seized his destiny and made history. Martin was victorious over Filipino icon Eduard Folayang to capture the ONE Lightweight World Title, and became the first-ever ONE World Champion in two divisions.