Thai fighters are now able to compete regularly in competitive MMA thanks largely to local promotion Full Metal Dojo (FMD) and one strawweight is determined to make the most of this opportunity. Pongsiri Mitsatit is already 3-0 and will be looking for a fourth straight win this weekend.
The 18 year old is taking on fellow Thai Nattapong Limpwattanachai at FMD 5 this Saturday night (May 9, 2015) in Bangkok and says that after a successful Muay Thai career, he has decided to turn his full-time attention to the sport of MMA.
"I retired from Muay Thai after I won the North Thailand Championship five months ago. I will be focusing on MMA from this point on. I love Muay Thai, but MMA has a better future for me and my family."
Mitsatit trains out of Team Quest in Chiang Mai and after establishing himself as one of the better Muay Thai fighters in the region, he is now training intensively as he looks to launch his MMA career.
"I train two times a day from Monday through to Saturday for my Muay Thai, wresling, Jiu Jitsu and Boxing and I also do strength and conditioning three times a week."
In his last professional outing, Mitsatit was in a thrilling back-and-forth war with Payoongsak Singchalad at FMD 3. The Thai teenager says this was one of the highlights of his fighting career.
"I really enjoyed the experience. I have fought many Muay Thai fights including high-profile championship fights but I have never experienced a crowd like Full Metal Dojo had. The crowd really motivated me to push harder during my fight."
It was the first time he has ever been the distance in his MMA career and Singchalad proved a tough and tenacious opponent. Mitsatit was relieved to have his hand raised at the end of the fight, but realized afterward he had some adjustments to make.
"I was happy with the win but I discovered many areas of my MMA game that I need to improve on. The last six months my coach Dylan Fussell has been using this time to help me skill build. I have become a completely different fighter with the help of Team Quest Thailand. I think people will be surprised how much my boxing and wrestling has improved since my last fight."
The big news in Asian MMA last week was that Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke will fight for ONE Championship's inaugural 115-pound title and Mitsatit says he has been following the career of his compatriot closely.
"I watch all his fights, I respect him a lot as a person and as a fighter. He is an example for all Thai people."
The age difference between the two fighters is nearly 20 years but while Mitsatit will be cheering for Dejdamrong later this month, his ultimate ambition is to win that title himself.
"At the same time that I respect Dejdamrong, I want that title. If I am able to sign with ONE Championship, eventually it will just be a matter of time before I get that belt. I am confident that Team Quest Thailand can take me to that level."
Mitsatit says that his friends and family in Thailand don't really know what MMA is but that he believes interest in the sport is steadily increasing. Although he's never competed at the very top level of Muay Thai, the teenager has established himself as one of the best stand-up fighters in the region and warns future opponents that he has been working on every aspect of his game.
"I have improved a lot, I think the fans are going to be surprised about my increased skill set. I can’t want to show my new boxing and wrestling skills I have been working hard on."
For more information about Full Metal Dojo visit: www.fullmetaldojo.com.