Rodtang Jitmuangnon interested in switching to MMA
Rodtang Jitmuangnon is one of the most exciting strand up fighters on the planet. Like most elite Muay Thai fighters he started young, and began competing when he was just eight years old.
Since then, he has enjoyed a glittering career full of accolades and accomplishments including becoming the Max Muay Thai 126lbs Champion and Omnoi Stadium 130lbs Champion.
Following the inception of the ONE Super Series in 2018 he signed with the Singapore-based organisation and quickly became the promotion’s flyweight Muay Thai champion. In the process Rodtang solidified his reputation for being one of the most aggressive fighters in the sport.
His girlfriend, Stamp Fairtex, won ONE Championship titles in both kickboxing and Muay Thai before transitioning to MMA. It’s a path Rodtang would like to follow,
“I’m very proud of her, she will need to focus on her training and need to train very hard, but one day I believe she can have the belt on her shoulder,” he said.
It is widely anticipated that Rodtang will challenge for a kickboxing title with ONE Championship next and he also has his sights set on transitioning to MMA just like Stamp,
“I kind of like it too. If I have chance, I will try.”
Rotang received the Rajadamnern Stadium ‘Fight of the Year’ award in both 2018 and 2019 for his battles with Chorfar Tor Sangtiennoi and Seksan Or Kwanmuang respectively. His two ONE Championship fights with Jonathan Haggerty were also extremely entertaining.
He beat the Englishman twice but both were memorable battles. At ONE: ‘Dawn of Heroes’ Rodtang won by split decision but at ONE: ‘A New Tomorrow’ the Thai finished a one sided rematch in the third round.
The second fight took place in Bangkok and it is a performance which Rodtang is understandably proud of,
“Well, the most memorable and impressive performance for me is the championship bout with Haggerty as it was in Thailand and in front of my fans. That day I delivered my very best performance to them and they all enjoyed it.”
Haggerty has come from nowhere to become one of the stars of the ONE Super Series. The Englishman beat Sam-A Gaiyanghadao to win the belt but Rodtang feels it was his sheer will to win that made the difference,
“His strength is kicking and he’s also a well-rounded athlete. I think his performance is very close to mine however I think I have more of a ‘brave heart’ than him.”
Rodtang is coming off a decision loss to Gaonar PKSaenchaigym. That snapped an 11 fight winning streak that encompassed wins over top stadium fighters like Seksan, Yodlekpetch Or Pitisak and Chorfar.
Staying active on the stadium scene has given Rodtang a lot of momentum. Despite being a veteran of over 300 fights he still enjoys studying other fighters and learning from their styles,
“I like to say ‘every fighter is my favourite’ as everyone has got a difference style. I love to watch everyone fight so that I can learn and improve my performance. I still need to gain a lot of experience.”
With Thailand under lockdown it has been three months since Rodtang’s last payday. He fought eight times last year but is going to be nowhere near as busy in 2020.
The 22 year old admits it is a setback to be stuck on the shelf for so many months during his prime,
“It’s very difficult for me as I have no program to fight during this period. In terms of my next opponent? I have no specific one. It can be anyone, as I will always do my best in the ring.”
Stamp’s chances of becoming a simultaneous three sport ONE Championship title holder were dashed by a split decision defeat to Janet Todd at ONE: ‘King of the Jungle’. It means she currently holds only the Muay Thai belt.
It is far too early to start talking about Rodtang’s prospects in MMA. But a kickboxing title shot could well be on the horizon and he could become the second two sport champion in his household by beating Ilias Ennahachi once the coronavirus, or Covid-19, crisis eases.