Jackie Buntan was born and raised in the US but her roots are in the Philippines. The 25 year old discussed her journey from an immigrant family to the global stage of combat sports in a newly released documentary.

Last week A Portrait Of Me was released detailing Buntan’s path to success. Her three older sisters were all born in the Philippines but the family moved to the US in 1997.

Buntan was born that same year and describes herself as being a part of,

“A family coming from the Philippines to America for a better life.”


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More conventional

Her mother imagined a more conventional career path for her youngest daughter. But Buntan was determined to become a successful fighter and started out at a very early age,

“I really believe in myself, I know I can be successful. I had my very first amateur fight as a kid when I was 13 years old.”

Buntan’s coach revealed that she had no professional experience prior to her ONE Championship debut. The Fil-Am strawweight was matched with Nat Wondergirl and ran out as the winner courtesy of a convincing decision victory.

Having won her first three fight she was handed a shot at the strawweight title. Buntan came up short against Smilla Sundell but it sounds like she has come to terms with this disappointment and says that uncertainty is inevitable for a professional fighter,

“Any fighter can tell you that this path is uncertain. I know that I have a timeframe in this sport like everyone else and the timeframe is not guaranteed. That really motivates me.”


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Fight or flight

At the age of 25 she has already achieved a lot but Buntan is well aware that success it not guaranteed and the clock is ticking. She has a limited window of opportunity in which to achieve her goals but says there is nothing like the experience of competing in the ONE Championship cage,

“The closer I’m getting to that cage it’s like fight or flight mode. It really excites me.”

Her mother wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about Buntan’s decision to put her education on the backburner in order to become a professional fighter. But she is certain that it was the right decision,

“As scary as it was a lot of beautiful things came out of that. I have so much confidence that I found in Muay Thai. It really did mold me into the person I am today.”

So pretty

She is coming off a win over Amber Kitchen at ONE Fight Night 5. It was her first time fighting in the Philippines and an emotional moment for Buntan.

Next up she is fighting in her homeland for the first time as a professional. Buntan takes on Diandra Martin at ONE Fight Night 10 and it sounds like she is still in love with the sport she first started competing in as a 13 year old,

“As brutal as this artform is it is so pretty to watch. There is nothing like Muay Thai.”