Undefeated Nakashima Says Abbasov’s Belt ‘Will Be Around Me’ After World Title Clash

ONE Championship
·3-min read

Mixed martial arts standout James Nakashima could score the biggest accolade of his career this Friday.

That evening, the undefeated American will challenge ONE Welterweight World Champion Kiamrian “Brazen” Abbasov for the belt at the previously recorded ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX II.

It could be a life-changing moment for Nakashima, but he stayed cool and collected leading up to the bout.

“I don’t, honestly, feel like this stuff is pressure. I’ve been quarantined in this hotel room ever since I got to Singapore, but I’m having fun. I’m super, super grateful for this opportunity,” he said.

“Real pressure is, I feel, growing up with parents that aren’t feeding you, and you’re starving. Real pressure is, during this coronavirus, you lose your job, and you can’t afford to eat or feed your family.

“Obviously, there’s going to be excitement, and there’s going to be nerves on the Thursday or Wednesday before the fight. But I’ve been doing sports for so long that I just don’t look too much into the pressure or the spotlight as being a big deal.”

Regardless of his attitude, the American could find himself being crushed by the weight of a destructive force when he steps into the Circle against Abbasov. The man from Kyrgyzstan is 22-4 with 10 KOs and four submissions on his record.

Still, Nakashima refuses to be rattled. He’s only focused on his goals – and on the people who’ve helped him get here.

“That belt will be around me, but it’s so much more. It’s been a giant project with my parents, my family, my gym, and my coaches,” the challenger said.

“Nothing in this world with greatness is done alone. It’s a lot bigger than me. Obviously, hard work has come along, but the support system for me is what has gotten me to this title fight. Without the support, I would be nothing.”

Nakashima may not feel the pressure to beat Abbasov, but he still feels the weight of responsibility in his home life – both to himself and to those closest to him.

“The pressure to me is getting up every single day, holding myself as accountable as possible, and making sure I do my spiritual practice first thing when I wake up,” he said.

“Spending time with my daughter every day and trying to help her become a whole person. Being good to my girlfriend. That’s the pressure, the day-to-day grind.”

Since arriving in Singapore and focusing on his upcoming foray, things have been easier for Nakashima, at least when it comes to competing.

“All the pressure is off me now,” he added.

Catch this main event clash and the rest of ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIXI II this Friday by downloading the ONE Super App. Or tune in to meWATCH at 8:30 p.m. Singapore Standard Time (SGT). Also, Channel 5 will cut into the broadcast at 10 p.m. SGT.

Read More From ONE Championship:

After Long Journey, Nakashima Unfazed By Pressure Of World Title Shot

Abbasov: Undefeated Challenger Nakashima ‘Hasn’t Fought Guys Like Me’