Allycia Rodrigues has been the ONE Championship atomweight Muay Thai champion for over two years. It is a long reign but the Brazilian feels she has it all to prove having never actually defended her belt.

There is a good reason for Rodrigues’ inactivity. She became a mother for the first time, giving birth to a baby boy and had to be her Muay Thai career on the backburner.

But she has moved back to Phuket in order to relaunch her fighting career and will finally be defending her title this weekend. Rodrigues faces Janet Todd at ONE on Prime Video 5 and is determined to prove she is still on top of the division,

“This victory is going to be very important for me because I’ve been without a fight for two years but I want to prove that it makes no difference. I’ll continue to be the champion because I work every day to stay on top.”

Extended break

Angela Lee returned from an extended break to successfully defend her atomweight title with a submission win over Stamp Fairtex earlier this year. Just like Rodrigues she gave birth to her first child during the time off and the Brazilian see this as a blueprint she can follow,

“I never thought it (having a baby) would be the end because I’ve seen several fighters become mothers and continue their careers, so I knew it would never be a problem for me either. Angela Lee was also pregnant (but) she returned and continued to be the champion. It changes nothing. It’s just a break from work.”

Rodrigues also believes having a son has made her psychologically stronger,

“Now I’m stronger because I fight for myself and for my son. I want him to be proud of me. Whenever I look at him, I have a lot of strength to go even further. I know what I’m doing will be very worthwhile for us and for our future.”

Back in shape

Getting back in shape after giving birth is not easy and the burden becomes even greater when you are preparing to compete in combat sports at an elite level. Rodrigues acknowledges that it has been difficult at times but thinks the hard work will ultimately pay off when she fights at the MOA Arena on Saturday morning,

“I know it ain’t easy, but it’s not impossible. If you work hard every day, you are capable of anything. I’ll think that all the suffering I’ve been through since I got back to training was worth it. Every drop of sweat, pain, and tiredness that I felt in my body, every moment I lost with my son, all this was worth it. Then it will be just joy with the result of my work.”

She was handed a shot at reigning atomweight Muay Thai champion Stamp Fairtex on her ONE Championship debut. Rodrigues won the belt but admits that fans still haven’t seen much from her,

“I only did one fight on ONE, and I haven’t shown much of myself yet. I’m excited now because I want to show you a lot more, show why I’m the champion, and I will remain the champion!”

Training and fighting

Rodrigues has spent a lot of time training and fighting in Thailand and thinks that her knees and elbows could make the difference in this title fight,

“My fighting style is very focused on my kicks (and) elbows and we worked a lot on the clinch. I feel like I’ll be very strong with the knees and elbows in the clinch.”

There is much more emphasis in fighting in the clinch in Thailand. Todd lives and trains in the US and Rodrigues sees this as an area in which she has the potential to shine,

“If I need to put pressure on her, I will use a lot of clinch with knees and elbows because I also know how to fight like that. This is something I train every day. I think my clinch will be better and stronger.”

After a two year absence the Brazilian admits to feeling ‘anxious’. But she managed to beat Stamp Fairtex in her first ever fight for the promotion and sounds extremely confident heading into her long awaited sophomore outing,

“I’m very anxious because I haven’t fought in a long time but I’m training hard and I’m very confident. I trust in my team, in my training, and especially in myself.”