Photo Credits :ONE Championship
New Zealand mixed martial artist Nyrene “Neutron Bomb” Crowley (3-0) returns to action this Thursday when she takes on South Korea’s Jiyeon Seo (6-3-0) in Singapore.
The atomweight bout is part of February’s ONE Warrior Series card. The series acts as a feeder system to ONE Championship with fighters from around the globe fighting to secure a contract with the world’s largest martial arts organisation.
Crowley is looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow Kiwi Mark Abelardo, who after excelling in the series, recently made a successful leap to ONE Championship.
In his first outing, Abelardo scored a stoppage victory over the previously undefeated Japanese fighter, Daichi Takenaka. The win has pole-vaulted the Kiwi into the upper tier of ONE’s bantamweight division.
“Mark is a standout athlete and for him to be paving the way for other ONE Warrior Series fighters is inspirational,” Crowley said in an interview with newsie.
“Let alone the fact that he is repping New Zealand hard on the ONE Championship stage. The platform is huge for us, so I am definitely trying to make the most out of any and all opportunities that come my way.”
Thursday’s bout is Crowley’s third ONE Warrior Series appearance, and in Seo she will face her most experienced opponent.
“I don't know too much about her, but I try to focus more on my game plan and listening to my coaches,” Crowley said.
“I am preparing for a tough, hard fight. This is exactly the kind of fight I need to be having in order to showcase my skills and abilities.”
Seo has only competed outside of her homeland once, having fought the majority of her bouts for Top Fighting Championship, one of South Korea’s largest MMA promotions.
The South Korean has exhibited a willingness to stand and trade when the occasion calls for it, so Crowley is right to expect a rugged encounter.
Thankfully the Kiwi, who fights out of Bali MMA, has no shortage of high-level training partners helping her prepare for the upcoming contest.
One of the fighters training alongside Crowley, is Xiong Jing Nan, the ONE Female Strawweight World Champion.
The heavy hitting Chinese athlete is currently preparing for her third title defence and has been happy to share with Crowley a few pointers.
“Jingnan is a phenomenal human being and leader at Bali MMA. I am so lucky to be learning from her every single day.
“She is always helping others and willing to share her skills. Not only is she physically gifted but her mindset is like none other.
“Watching her spar and hit pads always commands attention. She's an absolute savage.”
New Zealand Combat Sports has been hitting the headlines with increasing regularity over the past year.
So far it has been mostly the men receiving the newspaper columns, but Crowley forms part of a growing contingent of female fighters who appear set to grab the spotlight in the coming months.
“Honestly New Zealand has been producing top-level talent for years, but the growth of MMA in particular with women is awesome,” Crowley says.
“We have so much to offer, and I guess it's just watering the tiny seed, and continuing to encourage more women to get into it, is what our journeys are all about.
“New Zealand produces some real warriors, and I think if it was to continue building at the rate it's going, we can really start making a stronger mark on international stages.”
Crowley’s bout will be screened live and free on the ONE app with the event starting at 9 PM New Zealand time. If you haven't already, now would be the perfect time to jump on the “Neutron Bomb” bandwagon before it really begins picking up steam.