An Interview with Adrian "The Hunter" Pang, Legend FC Lightweight Champion
by Lee Li
While the Asian MMA scene outside of Japan has only begun to take off in the last few years with promotions such as China's Art of War, Hong Kong's Legend FC, Singapore's Martial Combat and One FC, and the Philippines' URCC, the folks "Down Under" have been banging it out a little longer. Australia and New Zealand have witnessed a boom since 2000. Promotions like Spartan RF, Xtreme FC, and later Cage Fighting Championship, Nitro and Rize may be mostly regional in appeal but they show how popular the sport is in this culturally "Western" (though isolated from it) South Pacific Rim area. The mega-promotion Ultimate Fighting Championship held events in Sydney in 2010 and 2011 - even prior to a return to Japan (the country long believed the hotspot of MMA in the eastern hemisphere) in 2012.
Australia has produced or adopted several notable athletes who have achieved international recognition in the UFC. James Te Huna, an ethnic Maori light heavyweight, punched his way through every opponent in Australia, earning him a spot on the card for UFC 127 in Sydney. Brian Ebersole, the guy who shaves an arrow in his chest hair pointing to his chin for his opponents, hasn't been knocked out in 64 fights. He's from the US but he's made Australia his home since 2007. George Sotiropoulos began fighting MMA in Australia and fought all over the Pan-Pacific region until being recruited to The Ultimate Fighter TV show which launched his career in the UFC. He twice fought another Aussie by the name of Kyle "KO" Noke - once to a loss, once to a win - who was a bodyguard for Steve Irwin. Noke was on a near perfect winning streak in local promotions when he too was catapulted into the international spotlight with a position on TUF. He trains with Team Jackson and Integrated MMA in Australia with another well-known fighter in the Pan-Pacific region: Adrian Pang.
Saying Adrian "The Hunter" Pang is well-known in Asia and Australia is almost not doing him enough justice. This is a man with a winning professional fight career spanning ten years (19W-7L-2D). That extraordinary length of time is a monumental achievement for any athlete, and Pang shows no signs that he's affected by it. In fact, he seems to be arriving at his peak: in the last two years he's won two lightweight titles from Cage Fighting Championship in Australia and Legend Fighting Championship in Hong Kong. He's not slowing down either. He fought four times in 2010, and after winning his title fight with Legend FC in the beginning of 2011, he went right back into training for a CFC fight only four months later. On October 30, "The Hunter" will be making his first title defense back in Hong Kong against Mongolian Jadamba Narantungalag, a fighter with a less prolific career than Pang but some wins over stellar opponents such as Akihiro Gono and Kazunori Yokota.
If Pang's fight career seems impressive, it only attests to his entire life. He was born of Chinese-European ancestry and raised in a tribal area of Papau New Guinea. This was not an easy childhood. Imagine growing up in a neighborhood where you don't have to worry about fast cars or stray bullets, but spears and knives. Pang was never one to back down, just like his fights prove: he's gone the distance - including two 5-round championships - in almost half of his fights. As a kid they called him man bilong pait, which means "warrior" or "man who likes to fight." You can ask him about the last cut on his brow from an MMA fight, but it's more interesting to ask him about that scar on his arm - it came from a spear fight in his youth!