For the most part, the Irishman is correct. Rarely does a mixed martial artist who makes it to the highest level of the game ever make it to retirement without being defeated. Some of the greatest of all time have tasted defeat--Fedor, Jon Jones (albeit a DQ), Georges St-Pierre, to name only a few.
One man currently bucking the trend, though, is #ONEChampionship's #BenAskren. The ONE welterweight champion has a perfect 15-0 (1 NC) record and he will be looking for his 16th victory in May at ONE: Dynasty of Heroes. His opponent, #AgilanThani, is a man on a mission though and speaking to Champions.co last week, Thani talked about his opportunity of a lifetime next month in Singapore.
"My team at Monarchy and all the Malaysian fans are really very excited, and I would like to thank ONE for giving me this chance," Thani said. "I have been training since I was 16-years-old in this sport, so I've worked hard to get this opportunity. I've now got six weeks to prepare, which is more than enough."
Askren has swept all before him in ONE and is hungry to get back into the cage following nearly a year on the sidelines. Thani is well aware of the size of the task ahead, but believes that anything is possible and that he can spring a big upset.
"I know Ben is a very talented, strong, technical and relentless wrestler," Thani said. "That said, no human is unbeatable, so he can think whatever he wants about beating me easily. I'm going to just do my thing, and I believe I have what it takes to win."
While some fighters will say they are unlike any normal person, Thani has a different perspective and insists that he is a man of the people.
"Many have tried to beat Askren, but I'm just going to try to do my best," Thani said. I don't think I'm anything special and I never act like I am. I'm the same, like everyone else. I just like fighting, and I just feel that I can beat him if I perform my best. I'm so grateful I have my chance."
With the date now set for May 26 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, Thani is now training hard and getting ready for the fight of his life. The Malaysian has high ambitions in ONE, and he's hoping that his undefeated record remains intact after ONE: Dynasty of Heroes.
"It's the biggest card since January and I feel proud to be a part of it," Thani said. "I'm not just there to make up numbers, though. I'm getting the belt and it's been my goal since I made my debut. My ambition is to be the best in the world and defend my belts multiple times. I respect Ben and I hope he stays healthy and has a good training camp. I'll be waiting for him in Singapore."
ONE: Dynasty of Heroes will be headlined by Angela Lee defending her ONE atomweight world title against Brazilian, Istela Nunes.