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Rodtang becomes highest-paid Muay Thai fighter in history, ‘will be as big as Ronaldo or Messi’

MMA: MAY 05 ONE Championship Fight Night 10 Photo by Christopher Colon/Pximages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Rodtang Jitmuangnon is a star.

The 25-year-old Muay Thai sensation made his debut on U.S. soil this past month at ONE Fight Night 10 along with his primary fighting home, ONE Championship. To the surprise of many, including ONE and its Founder, Chatri Sityodtong, Rodtang received the largest applause and reactions from the Denver, Co. crowd.

Rodtang (271-42-10) defeated Edgar Tabares with a second round knockout by elbow (watch highlights) on the night, extending his winning streak to nine and further boosting his star power. The “Iron Man” has now made history as a result.

“Rodtang will earn $300,000 per fight,” Sityodtong told South China Morning Post after a Facebook live Q&A (h/t Beyond Fighting). “It’s the highest [pay] in the world for Muay Thai by a huge margin.

“In two or three years, Rodtang will be as big as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi,” he concluded.

Catching up to football megastars, Ronaldo and Messi, in popularity is certainly wishful thinking. Regardless, Rodtang’s status in combat sports has become impressive, to say the least.

There is still a myriad of fantasy match ups for Rodtang to have in ONE despite his 15-fight run with the promotion. One, in particular, against Superlek Kiatmuu9 was supposed to happen on two occasions this year. Unfortunately, both failed to happen due to Rodtang first missing weight for their Jan. 14, 2023 date before suffering an injury ahead of the rebooked ONE Fight Night 8 event on March 23, 2023.

Fans are still hopeful the fight can happen at some point, but Superlek first needs to get through Nabil Anane next weekend (Fri., June 23, 2023) while Rodtang also has his next fight in the works.

“I understand that everyone wants to see Rodtang against Superlek,” Sityodtong said. “But it will be difficult to match them. Rodtang is fighting in six weeks.”

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