After all, he had left the country for the first time to fight an opponent that was in the consensus top 10 in the world in his own backyard, the Bellator bantamweight champion who many were hailing as the potential future of the 135 pound division.
And Nam knocked him out in just 100 seconds.
But now, when he should be fending off promotional offers with a stick, he's been stuck in a legal quagmire.
Despite never having fought for Bellator, Nam had signed a deal earlier this year to compete for the promotion as a late notice replacement. In the end, he wasn't needed and he was given his release before competing under the promotion's banner.
Nam wants to capitalize on his newfound publicity by fighting again quickly, but that's not the case as Bellator seems to be holding up any potential deals due to a "matching period" from his old contract.
The Sports Lab fighter spoke with MMAmania.com about his current predicament and what he plans to do about it in this exclusive interview.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): It sounds like you've hit with both the good and the bad after the knockout of Dantas. What was the situation with Bellator in the first place? I don't think many people knew you were ever signed with them at all since you never fought for them.
Tyson Nam: I was with them for like six months. We signed with them and they were always saying they'd get me a fight or an invite to the Bellator tournament which they cancelled so it was in good faith that they had the best interest in me and were gonna get me some fights in the bantamweight tournament. I think it was in May or June, at the end of their season six bantamweight tournament, someone wasn't gonna make it because of a Visa mix-up so they called me up and said, "Hey, do you want to fight in Canada in a week?" and I was like, "Yeah, I'll do it. What do I need?"
So I had to get X-Rays, cat scans, bloodwork and the whole nine yards, get my eyes checked. I had to pay everything out of pocket, 500-1000 dollars thinking they gave me the deadline in two days so if I get it done, they'll give me the fight, right?
So I get it all done and the very next day they said, "Sorry, but we're giving it back to the guy." Wow. That was the first try. After that they said, "Hey, you got all that done, but we're gonna guarantee you a spot in the season seven bantamweight tournament," so I was like, "Alright, a couple more months until that," then they cancelled the entire bantamweight tournament and from there, they said I was released from Bellator.
So that happened and I was sitting around, waiting and talking to my agent who was trying to get me in some local shows somewhere in the States and I got a chance to fight the Bellator bantamweight champion but not in Bellator. It was under Shooto in Brazil in his hometown. Even with all the odds against me, I still took it. I went in there as a sacrificial lamb but I came out on top and that's where I'm standing right now.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Had you talked to Bellator before fighting Dantas, did they say anything to you about that fight?
Tyson Nam: I'm sure they didn't have this outcome in mind but they contacted my agents, Iridium Sports and then Iridium contacted my coach and my coach contacted me. When my coach contacted me, I had to read the text message 10-15 times just to make sure they were texted the right person. Was this real? Was it really gonna happen?
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Okay, this matching period is the sticking point since you got the release from Bellator. What that means basically is: if someone offers you a really good contract, that Bellator can match it and keep you in Bellator? How does that work?
Tyson Nam: I guess that's what it is. Honestly, the offer that they're giving me right now is I get to fight in their tournament in Spring of 2013 where other promotions want to fight me this year. I don't think that really matches up as a comparable to what Bellator has for me. I didn't fight under their banner one time. They gave me high hopes and they let me down. High hopes again and let me down again. I don't know. I'm honestly trying to be just thinking the best out of everybody the entire time but there's a fine line. I'm a human being. You always do unto others what you want done unto you. They're inhibiting my career and not allowing me to move on.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Your head coach Phil Claude says he thinks Bellator was trying to protect their champion by keeping you out of the limelight for a while. Is that something you agree with or was that speculation?
Tyson Nam: I definitely would probably say that from their business standpoint, why not? I beat their number one guy. They don't want me going off and prospering while thinking they've got the number one guy in the world. Why wouldn't they want to give me a chance at it to prove their guy is really the number one guy in the world?
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You mentioned that there are several promotions that have shown interest in you. I don't think you're allowed to name names, but how many have been showing major interest in acquiring your talents?
Tyson Nam: Honestly I don't know exactly how many different promotions but I do know I've narrowed it down to two or three where I have my eyes set on.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I've heard everyone is "lawyering up" on both sides so is this something you plan on challenging if you do end up signing with a different promotion?
Tyson Nam: Definitely. Bellator has kind of been a thorn in my side right now so I don't expect nothing less. I'm just gonna put on my gloves and go to work in a different aspect.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): How frustrating is this situation right now?
Tyson Nam: It is very frustrating. I thought I did a really good thing, but in their eyes? I don't blame them. I probably threw a wrench in [Bellator's] engine over on their side but shit happens. Can't I get a little bit of credit for what I've done? I literally traveled across the entire world to fight someone in their backyard under their rules in front of their family and friends and it was just literally my coach and me. Two warriors against an entire nation. Can't I get a little bit of credit? We're all grown ups. I'm sure we can settle it like men. I'm not getting any younger. I'm 28 years old and going to be 29 soon. My prime only lasts so long.
You can reach out to Tyson on twitter @TysonNam.