Mongolian star Narantungalag “Tungaa” Jadambaa is finally ready to return to ONE Championship after finding himself at a career crossroads 18 months ago.
At ONE: DEFENDING HONOR in November 2016, he lost a World Title rematch to ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat “Cobra” Gafurov by submission.
It was the second time he had lost by rear naked choke to the Russian which prompted him to take a step back and assess his career.
“After competing against Marat Gafurov, I thought that I needed to improve my wrestling and grappling skills, and my physical strength,” the 42-year-old says.
“Now, I think that I have improved myself even more than before.”
Now, the former World Champion is ready to throw himself back into the fray, and on Saturday, 23 June he’ll return to action to face Filipino contender Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER in Macau.
It has been a while since we’ve seen him compete, but he’s stayed active in the gym and feels like he’s ready to return and make an impact.
“I have been ready to fight anytime,” he explains.
“I am in good shape, and I am happy to fight again. My heart is driven to fight.
“I have been preparing new techniques, and I will show something new in my next fight. You can believe it.”
He’ll face a tough test in the form of Kelly, who is in superb form, and has high hopes of challenging for the ONE Featherweight World Title this year.
The Filipino has admitted that he looks up to his opponent, but that reverence will be put to one side when they meet inside the cage on 23 June.
As well as having an extended period of absence from the cage, “Tungaa” is also eight years older than his adversary. However, he is confident none of that will matter in the Studio City Event Center.
“I think he is strong, a good fighter,” says Jadambaa.
“I always think that I am 10 years younger than my actual age, so age will not play a factor at all.”
Victory for Jadambaa after an 18-month hiatus would see him thrust straight back into the World Title conversation at featherweight.
However, the former World Champion says he’s not allowing himself to be distracted ahead of his bout with Kelly, as he looks to test himself and see whether he’s ready for another run at the title in ONE Championship.
“I am only thinking about the fight with Edward Kelly now,” he says.
“If I beat him, I think it would be right to continue to fight, and it will motivate me to train more as a result.”