Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichok was still a child when he had his first professional fight, but after reaching the very pinnacle of Muay Thai, the 35-year-old is setting his sights on success in a different sort of sporting competition when he makes his MMA debut this weekend.
On Saturday night (local time) Dejdamrong will be facing Filipino boxing contender Joseph Omana at ONE FC: Era of Champions in Jakarta and he brings an impressive array of titles and accomplishments from his former career.
“I’ve had over 350 Muay Thai fights with a record of 282 wins, 65 losses and 3 draws, and I’ve won three Lumpinee titles,” he told MMAWeekly.com.
Having retired from active competition, Dejdamrong received an offer last year to move to Singapore and join the team of Muay Thai trainers at Evolve MMA. He never planned to compete inside the cage himself, but says he became increasingly interested after seeing the fight team practice together every day.
“I moved to Singapore on 11th June 2013 to be a part of Evolve MMA. The academy was looking to add more Muay Thai world champions to its already incredible and impressive stable of world champions during that time and I was offered this amazing opportunity by fellow Evolve instructors Saknarong Sityodtong and Saenghirun Lookbanyai and eventually Chatri Sityodtong to be a part of Evolve MMA. I remember being really impressed at how many world champions they had under one roof, so I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of such a reputable MMA academy,” he said.
The Thai veteran might bring decades of stand-up experience to the table, but says he will be making his MMA debut after less than a year of training.
“I started training in MMA last year in August. I made the choice of competing in MMA after watching the Evolve Fight Team train on a daily basis to be honest. The reason was because I wanted to test myself on a different level and watching my teammates such as Leandro Issa, Leandro Ataides, and Ben Askren really gave me an adrenalin rush and made me want to return to a competitive stage.”
Heath Sims, who heads the Evolve MMA fight team, has stated that this training has centered around giving Dejdamrong the tools to keep a fight standing and play to his strengths rather than trying to turn him into a wrestler or grappler.
“As a Muay Thai fighter, I believe that I was the type of fighter who was constantly moving forward and putting pressure on my opponents and I also loved throwing punch combinations and utilizing low kicks,” said Dejdamrong.
So don’t expect Dejdamrong to be shooting for any takedowns or attempting ambitious submissions at the Mata Elang International Stadium, but he is confident of being able to cope should the fight go to the ground.
“I believe that every fighter in ONE FC has an excellent set of skills that they are really good at. For me, I know that I have the striking ability and experience to keep the contest standing up, but training alongside the Brazilian Jiu-Jitu world champions has definitely given me the confidence to do well should the fight get taken down to the ground.”
Omana, who is also making his MMA debut, brings a professional boxing record of 12-2-1 to the table and the ingredients seem to be in place for a clash of striking styles, which Dejdamrong says he is relishing.
“I am very excited to be making my MMA debut at ONE FC. I’ve been training alongside one of the very best professional fight teams in the world and I’m definitely eager to test myself and my new skills at ONE FC: Era of Champions.”
Although the fight was only announced a few weeks ago, the former Lumpinee champion says he has been working towards making his ONE FC debut since the start of the year and promises to be in top condition.
“I have been training for the last six months with world champions on the Evolve Fight Team such as Leandro Issa, Ben Askren, Shinya Aoki, Leandro Ataides, and many more.”
One of the things which fight fans were most excited about when ONE FC was launched was the prospect of seeing clashes between all the various martial arts that are prevalent in the region. While Wushu, Sanda and Karate fighters have enjoyed success, the promotion’s current crop of champions all come from a background in either BJJ or wrestling.
This flyweight match-up is a throwback to a foregone era because, although both fighters will have been working tirelessly to become more well rounded mixed martial artists, once the bell sounds they are highly likely to try and revert back to what they know best and that is how to knock opponents out.
With 350 fights to his name, Dejdamrong might feel like he has seen it all, but he faces a totally different type of challenge this Saturday against a hard-hitting opponent in four-ounce gloves. It promises to be an all-out striking war and the Thai will be determined to win, as he will be representing both his country and its fighting style.
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