70kg MMA champion Lộc confident ahead of title defence in Tây Hồ

April 01, 2023 - 11:21
Born in 1989 in Đồng Nai Province, Lộc fell in love with martial arts when he began training in a Vietnamese style called Nam Huỳnh Đạo, which is similar to Chinese kung fu.
Trần Quang Lộc, 70kg MMA champion, is all smiles now, but he will mean business when he steps into the Lion Championship cage on April 1. VNS Photo Seán Nolan

Seán Nolan*

It might be April Fool's Day, but reigning 70kg mixed martial arts champion Trần Quang Lộc will be in no mood for jokes when he begins his title defence on April 1 at the Tây Hồ Gymnasium.

The 33-year-old will face rising star Li Xiao Long from China for the 70kg Lion Championship .

"I expect to win," Lộc said while speaking with Việt Nam News reporters. "Knockout, submission, or decision."

Known as the 'Chinese Dragon', 22-year-old Li has an impressive record of 16 wins from 22 fights and has won numerous titles from local and international competitions.

From father to son

Born in 1989 in Đồng Nai Province, Lộc fell in love with martial arts when his father began training him in karate.

"My Dad taught me a little karate before I began training Vietnamese traditional martial arts," he said.

He then studied a Vietnamese style called Nam Huỳnh Đạo before moving to Liên Phong Quyền.

After three years of competing locally, Lộc made his international debut at the Warrior for Charity event in Malaysia in 2016.

In 2019, Lộc became the first Vietnamese MMA fighter to secure a win at the prestigious ONE Championship, beating South Korea Jong Heon Kim in the first round.

He said: "I've been training MMA for a long time, but at that time, it wasn't official.

"I was the first Vietnamese fighter to win at the ONE Championship, so it was very special."

His impressive resume also includes two fights against Vietnam Top Team's Kamil Michael Nguyễn Văn – once at the 2018 Mekong Fighting Championship and once at the 70kg final of last year's Lion Championship.

Both fights went to the judges' decision, and both times Lộc had his hand raised.

"I think me and Kamil will meet again," he said. "He seems to have been training hard ahead of this year's tournament."

Number one-ranked 70kg contender Kamil will also be in the octagon on April 1, taking on Nghiêm Tùng Lâm of Hà Đông Fighter Union in the night's penultimate fight.

Hard work and passion

Despite his successes, Lộc remains humble and dedicated to his craft.

"Everything has its own price. For me, it's not a sacrifice - it's a lesson for me to learn every day." Lộc said.

"When I'm stressed, I have negative thoughts, but my great passion for MMA means I can get my positive energy back in just one or two days."

Lộc trains and fights out of Liên Phong MMA, which was started by Johnny Tri Nguyen, a Vietnamese–American actor and martial artist.

After winning his Lion Championship belt last year, Lộc gave it to Johnny as a token of appreciation.

With such a successful career already, Lộc has inspired many young fighters.

"My advice is that if you like a certain sport, just go for it. There will be times when you feel sad and give up - but stop right there. Don't make a decision. Go somewhere else. Tomorrow you can decide, and then you will get the result you want." VNS

*Additional reporting by Hải Linh & Minh Trang