Ole Laursen, a Danish-Filipino Muay Thai champion, will be headlining what is set to become Asia's biggest MMA event, in ONE Fighting Championship 1 this September. The show will be held in the 12,000 capacity Singapore Indoor Arena, and it will have an unprecedented reach stemming from deals with ESPN Star Sports, Media Corp, and now Sherdog. This makes them available to over 500 million households all over Asia, along with the people around the globe who will watch it online.
Laursen, a veteran of over 50 kickboxing fights, says that such a big stage doesn't phase him. "The bigger the crowd, the more it motivates me to do my very best," he said in an interview with BloodyElbow.com, "I love big arenas, and the crowd going nuts. I will do all I can to deliver the best fight, and to please the crowd. There’s going to be thousands of people there, and even more will tune in to watch this. I’m thrilled to be headlining."
While most fighters would take advantage of this big stage by talking smack to hype up the fight, that certainly isn't going to happen for this fight. Ole remains respectful and courteous towards his opponent, and he even had earlier reservations about competing against a friend and a fellow Filipino in Eduard Folayang.
"His coach and I are friends. I have visited them in Baguio, and I like the guys there and the team spirit they have. I have been planning to go train with them, but I don’t know if that’s ever going to happen after this." Laursen explained, "It just so happens that ONE FC wants us to fight so that’s how it has to go down. I hope we can continue our friendship after this fight."
The half-Filipino is also well-known with fight fans in the Philipines, but he says he's not worried about the people turning against him for taking on one of the Country's biggest MMA stars.
"There’s nothing this fight can do to take away who we are." he continued, "I love the Philippines, my family, my friends, the streets in my neighborhood, the places I usually go to, and the people there. I don’t think this fight will change anything, at least it shouldn’t."
After the jump, Laursen talks about making the move from Kickboxing to MMA, his bouts against Caol Uno and Genki Sudo, and a few choice words about The Ultimate Fighter.
"My brother got me involved with MMA at an early age. I was 18 when I had my first amateur MMA fight," said the now 33-year-old fighter, as he talked about his journey as a Martial Artist, "This was back in the early days of MMA. My brother and I were training moves we had seen in Vale Tudo tapes ordered in Brazil, and Pit Fighting tapes from the States. These were our first learning tools back then."
"Then Muay Thai took over for me, and I devoted myself to Muay Thai for years," Laursen continued, "I left MMA behind but always wanted to achieve something in that sport. Especially after watching the TUF show where the guys are slightly pathetic looking. I always thought I could kick those guys ass even without training and I’m hoping that one day will prove it."
During his time with kickboxing, he has won numerous titles and defeated the who's who of the sport. That's why when he decided to take up MMA, he has already been regarded as one of the top lightweight prospects. So much so that after only 7 professional bouts, BloodyElbow's Leland Roling has named him as the #8 Ranked Lightweight in the World MMA Scouting Report.
He currently has a professional record of 5-2, with those two losses coming from his first two bouts - a baptism of fire in Japan's Hero promotion, where he immediately took on Japan's top dogs in Genki Sudo and Caol Uno.
"I learned so very much from those fights. Genki showed me I was able to hang with the best," Laursen talked about his first two losses, "Against Uno, I had hurt my knee in training, so for a month before fight I couldn’t run, jog or even shadowbox. That taught me that I should never take a fight just for cash when I wasn’t fully fit."
With those valuable experience gained, "Iron Fist" went on to win five straight MMA bouts with Art of War and Martial Combat, winning a Lightweight Super-Fight Title of the latter, Singapore-based promotion. Jump a few months later, and he's now set for his ONE FC headlining bout against a URCC champion, and a fellow Martial Combat Super-Fight champ.
He's going against Folayang, a multi-titled Wushu expert who has been showing off his wares representing the Philippines' biggest MMA promotion, the URCC. Laursen cherishes an opportunity to face a fellow champ, and as the days inch closer to his bout against his gritty opponent, he he's not taking things lightly.
"I will be ready for the later rounds if it goes that way. I can’t just train for an early win, I have to be ready for wherever the fight may go, even if it means a full on war that goes the distance." Laursen expounded, "Folayang is a warrior. He deserves respect and should be continued to be treated as a warrior regardless of how this fight goes. I am not treating this fight like I am the top dog. He is 9-1 - way more experienced in the cage than me, so the way I see it, I am the underdog."
A great mindset heading into the biggest fight of his MMA career.
For more information about Ole "Iron Fist" Laursen, visit LegacyGym.com. Interested sponsors for his ONE FC headlining bout on September 3rd can email his management at email@example.com