Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke has rematches on his mind. The former Lumpinee champion boasts a 7-2 record and won the inaugural ONE Championship strawweight strap.
But the two losses came about in devastating fashion. The first cost him his title in the headline fight of ONE Championship’s first ever event in his native Thailand. The second came courtesy of a razor tight split decision loss, and to compound the misery both bouts were in Bangkok.
“Kru Rong” as he is affectionately known by the students at Evolve MMA has achieved so much. He didn’t even discover MMA until his mid thirties but still made history by becoming the first Thai fighter to win a ONE Championship title.
What made this achievement all the more impressive was that it came courtesy of a couple of submissions as well as the KO and TKO wins you would expect from a former Lumpinee champion.
Dejdamrong, who faces Robin Catalan at ONE: “Quest for Greatness” on Friday, is still one of the top dogs in the division. He’s not looking to handpick opponents but the rematches are what he really wants,
“I'll fight anyone that ONE wants me to fight, but if I had to choose, I would like to fight Pacio and Naito. They are the two guys that I have lost against and I would like to face them again in the cage to win this time.”
He’s coming off an impressive win against overmatched Indonesian Adrien Matheis. Dejdamrong has his momentum back and says he’s been working hard with new Evolve MMA head coach Brian Ebersole ahead of this Friday’s fight in Kuala Lumpur,
“Brian has helped me a lot. He is a very experienced MMA fighter, having fought over 70 times. He has also wrestled since he was a little kid and has really helped me improve my wrestling game. I have also been training with guys like Saketdao and Yodsanan, as well as Leadro Issa, Bruno Pucci, Alex Silva, Amir Khan and Eddie Ng.”
Saketdao is a former Lumpinee champion, just like Dejdamrong. He was a big name in the Muay Thai world, made a successful MMA debut last year and his team mate expects him to achieve great things,
“He put in a great performance and looked comfortable in the cage but I was not surprised because I train with him every day and know how good he is. He was a great Muay Thai champion so I know he will do well in MMA and he’s also a fast learner.”
Given that Dejdamrong has already made the transition from Muay Thai champion to MMA champion look seamless he might have some advice for Saketdao. But he says the key is confidence and hard work,
“There's not much I need to tell him but mainly I just tell to have faith in his Muay Thai abilities and to continue to improve the other parts of his game.”
Saketdao has already tasted victory in one of ONE Championship’s hugely successful Bangkok events. It’s something Dejdamrong was devastated to miss out on,
“It hurt, especially since it was in Bangkok in front of the Thai fans. However, losing is a part of the fight game. Having fought hundreds of times since I was a child I know this and all I am focused on now is continuing to win and getting the belt back.”
Dejdamrong is 38 but has taken good care of his body and has a very professional lifestyle. When he’s not training for a fight the Thai is in demand as a trainer at Evolve MMA in Singapore, so he is always in shape and doesn’t put on weight between bouts.
Conventional wisdom states that 35 is too late for a fighter to launch a successful MMA career but Dejdamrong did it. Conventional wisdom also states that fighters approaching the age of 40 should be contemplating retirement rather than title shots.
Dejdamrong will be looking to challenge that school of thought too and a win on Friday would be a big step in the right direction for the Thai veteran.