Suasday Chau humbled and honored in homecoming to Cambodia at ONE FC 20

ONE FC's Suasday Chau
ONE FC’s Suasday Chau

The 20th installment of ONE Fighting Championship on 12 September in Cambodia hosts Suasday Chau, fighting in his ancestral homeland for the very first time, against Arnaud “The Game” Lepont.

 

33 year-old Australian-Cambodian Chau may be debuting at ONE FC but he is not new to the sport. His record of 4-3 boasts wins by finishes, and demonstrates his competitive edge in his ground game. Who would have thought that a Cambodian, whose home country’s indigenous martial arts are the striking skills of Pradal Serey and Khun Khmer, would seem to be more at home grappling?

However, Chau did not grow up in Cambodia, but Australia since the age of 2, and when he started fighting professionally, all his pro fights were in Queensland. There, the competitors he fought had a strong wrestling and grappling base. Chau said,

“I preferred to keep the fight standing however they would take me down after I had successfully landed a few hard shots, until I got fairly comfortable with grappling. I have improved my game now to dictate where the fight goes as opposed to just going with the flow.”

Before moving to Australia, his parents lived in Thailand to seek refuge from the Khmer Rouge occupation of Cambodia. This “homecoming” for Chau and his family is definitely an emotional one. While they are excited about the visit, and even more so because Chau will be performing in front of a home crowd, his father had initial reservations about going back to Cambodia.  He believed that it might be too dangerous. However, in support of Chau, his father, together with some friends and Chau’s students, decided to fly in to Phnom Penh for the biggest moment in Chau’s fight career. Chau shared heartwarmingly,

“I can’t wait to see Cambodia through Dad’s eyes and hear his stories. This is his country, and our ancestral homeland. However, Mum won’t be joining us though. She can’t watch me compete in any form of unarmed combat as she gets too nervous.”

Although this homecoming is an emotional one, Chau is very grateful to ONE FC for giving him the opportunity to showcase his martial arts skills in his ancestral homeland. He feels “truly humbled and honoured” as he now calls Cambodia his “home away from home”.

“I can’t wait to see Cambodia through Dad’s eyes and hear his stories.”

 

Chau is now a qualified personal trainer, nutritional and lifestyle coach. His life has been centered around health, fitness and martial arts. Even his younger brother Charlie was a former WMC National Amateur Muay Thai champion. Inspired by movie legends and martial arts exponents like Jean Claude Van Damme and Bruce Lee as a child, and having grown up on movies like Bloodsport and Enter The Dragon, he started training in karate at the age of 7 and then progressed to judo in his teens. Later, he studied Tang Soo Do and became an international gold medalist.  Chau founded his own martial arts school in 2003 which evolved into an MMA and BJJ training school.

Chau’s Australian influence is quite evident in the frank and direct way he speaks about his opponent, Lepont. One would think that a close study of one’s opponent through his fight record and videos would be the normal course of action. However, Chau dismissed this and said that there was already so much pressure from the upcoming competition alone without having him to pile on the pressure more by studying his opponent so closely. Chau said that he was aware that Lepont had lost his last 3 fights and would be well-prepared to make a comeback. He also knows that Lepont will bring a wealth of experience into the cage with him and might come out stronger after learning from the mistakes in his past fights.

Notwithstanding that, the home crowd will be behind Chau, even while he might be carrying his “underdog” badge because this is his debut performance in ONE FC. He has no experience with an international platform like ONE FC – unlike Lepont – and is not sure what to expect. Chau promised, however, that under any circumstance he would be hoping to put on a good show for his fans no matter where they may be, Cambodia or Australia.

“KaiZen means ‘In Constant Pursuit Of Excellence’ and that is the motto I have been running my life with.”

 

Chau is not afraid of the challenge up ahead. He remembers that his first pro fight was possibly the most difficult as he was set up against a better, stronger and more experienced fighter. Also, he realizes that fighting in a cage is different from fighting in a ring. The pace is definitely faster and psychologically, “there was no where I could escape”. Chau feels he was under-prepared in the past, but for this upcoming fight with Lepont, he is ready for anything. He spent 6 days a week training, placing a lot of focus on his Muay Thai, judo and no gi grappling.

Having founded Chau Kai Zen Martial Arts and being a committed martial arts instructor, Chau advises MMA enthusiasts to first study martial arts for at least 2 years and not be too hung up about competing. He feels that it is more important for one to study martial arts as a means to becoming stronger, fitter and healthier, rather than to focus solely on becoming a pro fighter. Chau said realistically,

“This is a profession where you will not make large sums of money. If you are in it, it would have to be about your passion and commitment to stay fit and strong. Winning fights will come subsequently.”

To Cambodian MMA enthusiasts aspiring to fight in a pro cage, Chau advised them to spend as much time learning wrestling and grappling as they do striking.

When Chau is not training for a fight or teaching martial arts, he runs his own apparel brand called Chau KaiZen which he will be officially launching together with his debut performance at ONE FC 20. He explained,

“KaiZen means ‘In Constant Pursuit Of Excellence’ and that is the motto I have been running my life with.”