Pasar al contenido principal
Joshua Van of Myanmar poses for a portrait after defeating Kevin Borjas of Peru in a flyweight fight during the UFC 295 event at Madison Square Garden on November 11, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)
Athletes

Joshua Van Wants To Prove Everyone Right

After A Successful Debut Year, Joshua Van Hopes To Kickstart A Breakout Campaign At UFC Fight Night: Ankalaev vs Walker 2

It’s easy for a young fighter to get ahead of themselves after tasting a little bit of success at the highest level, but don’t worry about that when it comes to Joshua Van. The Myanmar-born Houston-resident earned two UFC wins in 2023, but the 22-year-old believes he has the right people in his corner to keep him grounded.

“All my coaches, they always get on my ass,” Van told UFC.com. “If I'm not in the gym, they will call me or whatever, so it wasn’t a hard thing (to stay humble).”

Order UFC 297: Strickland vs Du Plessis

Van fights out of 4oz. Fight Club in Houston, which UFC veteran Daniel Pineda owns and operates. Even with Octagon experience in his corner, Van also has some self-awareness. 

Joshua Van of Myanmar kicks Kevin Borjas of Peru in a flyweight fight during the UFC 295 event at Madison Square Garden on November 11, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Joshua Van of Myanmar kicks Kevin Borjas of Peru in a flyweight fight during the UFC 295 event at Madison Square Garden on November 11, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

In terms of his goals for 2024, Van pondered the idea of fighting upwards of six times during the year after he gets past his matchup with Felipe Bunes at UFC Fight Night: Ankalaev vs Walker 2.

Fight By Fight Preview | UFC Fight Night: Ankalaev vs Walker 2

Why the high number? Simple: to keep himself in the gym.

“I don't like training if I don't have a fight (laughs),” Van said. “I want to stay active.”

Joshua Van of Myanmar walks to the octagon to face Kevin Borjas of Peru in a flyweight fight during the UFC 295 event at Madison Square Garden on November 11, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)
Joshua Van of Myanmar walks to the octagon to face Kevin Borjas of Peru in a flyweight fight during the UFC 295 event at Madison Square Garden on November 11, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)

Luckily for him, the flyweight division has never been deeper. All you have to do is look at a similarly aged prospect to Van like Tatsuro Taira, who needed five wins (including three finishes) to get his name in and around the Top 15.

That also means Van can take his time building his skills, which are already pretty sharp. In his decision wins over Zhalgas Zhumagulov and Kevin Borjas, Van displayed slick boxing and a good sense of how to win rounds when things got tight. 

2024 FIGHTERS ON THE RISE: Part 1 | Part 2

At the very least, he impressed UFC.com writer E. Spencer Kyte, who put Van on his “Fighters On The Rise in 2024” piece. For Van, hype isn’t pressure so much as motivation to keep doing what he has been doing.  

Joshua Van of Myanmar punches Zhalgas Zhumagulov of Kazakstan in their flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena on June 24, 2023 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Joshua Van of Myanmar punches Zhalgas Zhumagulov of Kazakstan in their flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena on June 24, 2023 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

“I just have to stay on my grind and prove them right,” he said.

As far as his upcoming matchup, Van isn’t too pressed about what Bunes has to offer in his UFC debut and first fight in a year. He acknowledges the threats he presents (including 11 finishes out of 13 victories), but he is more concerned about what goes down once they step into the Octagon. 

By all measures, Van is handling the bright lights as steadily as one could hope, especially considering he didn’t make his professional debut until October 2021. Looking at his record, his activity ambitions make more sense. During his first year as a professional fighter, Van fought seven times. 

Kevin Borjas of Peru defends an ankle lock from Joshua Van of Myanmar in a flyweight fight during the UFC 295 event at Madison Square Garden on November 11, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Kevin Borjas defends an ankle lock from Joshua Van during the UFC 295 event at Madison Square Garden on November 11, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

So it makes sense that when he is asked about how he feels about the major change in life that comes with fighting under the banner of the mixed martial arts leader, Van is pretty blasé about it all.

“I mean, I still feel like I'm just a regular fighter,” Van said. “But, from other people’s point-of-view, I guess it changed a lot. It's great.

“I always knew I was going to be in the UFC, so it wasn't really a surprise.”

UFC Fight Night: Ankalaev vs Walker 2 took placelive from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas on January 13, 2024. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!