A featherweight fight between Long Sophy and Max Metino has been added to the ONE FC card on Sept. 13 in Jakarta. The former will become the first-ever Cambodian fighter to compete for Asia's biggest MMA organization in a story which was broken by the Phnom Penh Post earlier this week and confirmed by promotion officials today.
Sophy is a veteran of over 100 Kun Khmer fights who has also won numerous titles and tournaments and enjoys a stellar reputation inside Cambodia. He is relatively unknown outside of his homeland, the sport does not enjoy the same sort of international following as Muay Thai, but has an opportunity to change all that after signing for ONE FC.
His opponent, Metino, is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) purple belt, but Sophy is nothing if not supremely confident and says he has been working tirelessly to ensure that the transition from the Kun Khmer ring to the MMA cage goes smoothly.
"I train five days a week with A-Fighter Team and I am not scared at all because I have grappled with BJJ black belts and Khmer wrestling champions and I believe I can mix it up with him on the ground. I have two top BJJ coaches helping me in Hun Chanreach and Barry Guerin, they are both well trained in BJJ."
CTN, a major television network in Cambodia, is holding MMA fights being held every single Sunday night but Sophy says that no one in the country is prepared to take him on at present.
"Nobody wants to fight me. I can submit all those CTN guys!"
Kun Khmer is very similar to Muay Thai and the A-Fighter team in Phnom Penh is home to numerous champions who are working on their wrestling and submission skills because they feel that, financially speaking, competing in MMA is a better option for them.
With some Cambodian mixed martial artists taking advantage of the opportunity to compete every week inside the CTN cage and fighting three to four times a month, it will not be long until fighters start to emerge with very strong records.
Sophy might be struggling to find opponents locally, but at the age of 23, he has plenty of time to adapt his striking style for MMA and is definitely not lacking in confidence.
"I want to fight MMA regularly and I believe I could mix it up with any of the ONE FC fighters!"