ONE FC’s second foray into Indonesian territory is scheduled for Sept. 13 at the 15,000-capacity Istora Senayan Stadium. The undercard will feature Sophy taking on fellow debutant Max Metino in a featherweight fight.
Kun Khmer, also known as Pradal Serey, can be traced back as far as the ninth century. It is the Cambodian equivalent of Muay Thai with televised fights taking place every single weekend in the capital city of Phnom Penh.
While Muay Thai is internationally acclaimed, however, Kun Khmer remains relatively unknown outside of Cambodia, making it difficult for fighters to earn decent money competing exclusively on the domestic scene.
For that reason, a lot of the top Cambodian fighters are transitioning from the Kun Khmer ring to the MMA cage. In an interview with the Phnom Penh Post, Sophy said he was looking forward to fighting for Asia’s biggest MMA organization for the first time.
“I am very proud that I have been chosen to fight abroad. My family are also proud of this achievement. It is a big honor as a Cambodian to be picked,” he said.
He also warned that his elbows are his most dangerous weapons. With a Kun Khmer record of 69-21-7, he has had plenty of opportunities to practice them in his fighting career to date. The challenge for Sophy will be to keep the fight standing against an Indonesian opponent who has won gold medals at multiple grappling tournaments.
He has been working with a group of fellow Kun Khmer veterans at the A-Fighter Gym in Phnom Penh who work together daily, learning MMA techniques. Sophy says he is confident he has developed the submission skills necessary to survive inside the ONE FC cage.
His opponent, Metino, holds a purple belt in BJJ and promises to offer a stern examination of the Kun Khmer veteran’s grappling credentials. Whatever the outcome on Sept. 13, with Cambodia slowly starting to embrace MMA, it is unlikely that Sophy will be the last fighter from that country to sign with ONE FC.