The name Arnaud Lepont is very well known in South East Asia as he has trained in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia and been one of the stars of the Bangkok based promotion DARE Championship.
It's not surprise that Asia's biggest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion should take an interest in one of the most flamboyant fighters in the region and Lepont will be making his ONE Fighting Championship debut when he takes on Eddie Ng next month.
That fight will be one of the most eagerly anticipated on the ONE FC: 'Destiny of Warriors' card which is taking place at Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur on June 23, 2012. Ng is one of the stars of the world renowned Evolve MMA camp and should bring a few fans from Singapore but Lepont is a member of the fight team at Muayfit and is fighting in his adopted hometown.
It will be a big test for Ng, who is coming off a win against Lepont's team mate Jian Kai Chee, but it will also be an opportunity for the Frenchman to showcase the sort of power and aggression which has helped him run up an 8-1 MMA record.
He recently spoke to MMAmania.com about how happy he was to have signed for ONE FC and to have the opportunity to take on a rising star in Asian MMA.
Check it out.
How excited are you to be fighting for One FC?
I am pumped ! OneFC is for me the UFC of Asia. I am welcome by one of the best young guns of the division, so yes, I am pretty excited. I can’t wait to be there, to be in the cage, in front of my hometown. It’s gonna be huge. I went to the last two OneFCs and they were amazing. I am a DareFC fighter. I like to fight in DareFC cause it’s a unique experience, it’s something you have to live to understand. But OneFC, is the UFC of Asia.
Do you think you will have any problem making 155?
It will be the most difficult part. I am always at 165 but these couple of years, I work my ass to put some muscles on cause guys at 170 were bigger than me. Now, I have to lose weight and muscle to go to 155. It will be really difficult. But it’s my decision. I will feel that I already won 50% of the fight when I will be at 155.
Why did you come to Asia and how has training here helped you as a fighter?
I come to Asia because I am in love of the mood and the way people live here. I feel that all is easier here. I was a good grappler when I arrived in Thailand. Working my stand up has improved me as a mixed martial artist. I feel well rounded now.
After seeing Eddie beat your team mate Jian Kai Chee are you looking for revenge?
No, I am not. I am just looking to make a great fight for the fans. A fight that people will remember. I want to show my heart and will to the crowd. I want to be like a Chris Lytle at the top of the OneFC division, someone you have to bet to prove the world you are on the top.
What do you think of Eddie as a fighter?
I think Eddie is a great fighter. He will be one of the top fighters of the division soon, maybe he is already. Even if we pump up the fight a little, I think both of us have respect for each other. He is part of one of the top teams in Asia, he has great coaches. It’s a great opponent.
Have you signed a multi fight contract with One FC?
Thanks to Victor Cui, yes. I want to thank him for his trust in me. I will not disappoint. I always go for the kill, I prefer to lose a bloody fight than win a boring one. I think that’s what he like in me. I come to put a show at every fight.
What was the scene like in France when you were training and fighting there and how has it changed since?
When I was there, there were no pro MMA events. I was moving to Germany or England to be in an MMA fight, I was underground. Now, there is some event like "100%Fight Paris" with great champions like Nayeb Hezam or Patrick Vallee. Things are changing and I would not be surprise to see a UFC in Paris for 2013.
Who are your training partners and trainers?
My training partners are also my trainers. I have Piotr Lieb, Luc Rousseau, Eric James Kelly, Allamurad Karayev. We share experience, roll and spare. Now, it’s my turn to be ready, so I listen and do the job. I am lucky to train at MuayFit in Kuala Lumpur. The gym is great. I think it’s the best gym in Malaysia.
How excited are you to be fighting in KL which is your home at the moment?
Even if I am not from Malaysia, this is the place where I train and live. So yes, I feel excited. I will just enjoy fighting with a great fighter in a great event.
Do you have any predictions for this fight?
It’s gonna be a war. I think we both want to make a statement in this division…so here we go.
ONE Fighting Championship 4: Destiny of Warriors
June 23, 2012 -- Stadium Negara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia