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Liam Nolan: The making of ONE Championship's rising lightweight contender | 'I was more determined than them all'

Liam Nolan is planning a lightweight title run this year in ONE Championship; but the rising Muay Thai fighter must beat Nauzet Trujillo on the Jonathan Haggerty vs Felipe Lobo card, live on Sky Sports Arena from 1am on Saturday morning

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Liam Nolan made an impressive return after a year away from MMA and showed off his fast hands against Ali Aliev in Bangkok

British lightweight Muay Thai star Liam Nolan has never had anything handed to him.

That is a crucial part of what has allowed him to become a world-class striker, and he plans to break into the world title picture at ONE Fight Night 19, live on Sky Sports in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Nolan's journey into 'the art of eight limbs' began when he was 13 years old. He started training at London's Knowlesy Academy alongside future two-sport ONE world champion Jonathan Haggerty.

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ONE Championship star Liam Nolan reveals what fans can expect to see from him and how his good friend Jonathan Haggerty gave him a confidence boost (Credit: ONE Championship)

The sporting outlet soon ignited a passion in Nolan, leading him to commit as much time as possible to his desired career path.

But after leaving school prematurely at 15, Nolan started looking for random jobs to help make ends meet, all while sharing a one-bedroom apartment with his mum.

"I left school quite early when I was young, so I used to go and work to earn extra money. I would do little jobs like on construction sites and stuff," he said.

"With it just being me and her, one time we even had bunk beds. We had a one-room bunk-bed scenario. It wasn't great, but we just did what we could do to get by."

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Coming from a single-parent household, money was tight and every pound counted. There were no big parties or days out. It was just him and his mother against the world.

However, the Englishman's father entered his life for a rather short period of time. It was in Bangkok where they first crossed paths. Nolan, still 15, ventured to Thailand to enhance his Muay Thai skills when a chance meeting with his father occurred.

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Double Olympic taekwondo medallist Lutalo Muhammad tells us more about British Muay Thai star Liam Nolan

"We were in Thailand, and he messaged me asking if I wanted to finally meet up. I said, 'Yeah'. I obviously wanted to meet my dad for the first time," Nolan explained.

But it ended soon and bitterly. Any chance of a relationship with his father evaporated after an altercation.

Nolan does trace his gritty personality to the way he grew up.

"I think sometimes you don't realise, but these things are good for you. Now I look back on it, I think it's all been for the best. I think it's made me who I am today," he said.

While other individuals at his gym had prominent fathers to guide them, Nolan had to figure everything out himself. And he believes that is what has helped him to reach new heights.

"I'd get the bus to the gym. I'd have to borrow gear from the gym. All smelly gloves and all that, while all the other kids had the nice new Fairtex gloves," Nolan said.

"But I was more determined than all the kids. I was fighting more regularly than all of them. They quit because they couldn't hack it. They didn't have grit like me."

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Watch some of the best moments from ONE's Liam Nolan

That grit has carried Nolan to the bright lights of ONE Championship, where he has established himself as one of the best Muay Thai lightweight fighters on the planet. Currently, he is riding a two-bout winning streak and looks to beat Spain's Nauzet Trujillo to get a hat-trick of victories this weekend.

Up to this point, it has been a long, difficult road. In fact, the road will only get harder.

Nevertheless, Nolan has persevered, and he credits his mum for playing a crucial role in his success. Their bond is stronger than ever, and she is undoubtedly his biggest fan.

"She did the best she could. Now, she gives back to me as much as she can. She always helps me and supports me. She knew competing in combat sports was always my dream. I think it's tough for a mum to watch their kid compete," Nolan said.

"She's someone who worked really, really hard, and her mindset was really strong. And I think that's something she gave to me."

Watch Liam Nolan on the ONE Championship Fight Night live on Sky Sports Arena from 1am on Saturday morning

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