The heroes of ONE Championship may be on a quest to achieve greatness inside the Circle, but it would not be surprising to see any of them appear on the silver screen in the near future.
In late April, the company launched ONE Studios. It was also announced that many of the projects coming out of the organization’s television and film production branch will feature its martial artists.
For decades, martial artists have enjoyed successful careers in the acting world.
Iconic figures like Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Jackie Chan, and Donnie Yen have flawlessly transitioned into film and achieved global superstardom.
“Super” Sage Northcutt and Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan could be the next warriors to follow in their footsteps, as they both are scheduled to make their theatrical debuts soon. However, they aren’t the only athletes from the roster who have been featured in starring roles.
With that in mind, here are five ONE superstars who have appeared in movies.
#1 Brandon “The Truth” Vera
ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera starred in 2018 Philippine action thriller BuyBust opposite famed Filipino-Australian actress Anne Curtis.
The 41-year-old athlete played Rico Yatco, a Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency [PDEA] agent who was thrust into the narcotics underworld to snap a drug ring in a Manila slum.
Most of his scenes were centered on action, and throughout the 127-minute movie, Vera looked like a perfect fit for the role.
#2 Peter “The Pistol” Davis
Lightweight contender Peter “The Pistol” Davis’ entrepreneurial journey knows no boundaries, and since moving to Malaysia in 2006, he has fully expanded his portfolio.
Modeling has been one, and acting has been another. In 2008, the martial artist took a main role in a musical called Sell Out!, which won the Young Cinema Award for Alternative Vision at the 65th Venice International Film Festival.
Besides his big screen debut, the Kuala Lumpur-based talent starred in Malaysian action films Apokalips X and J Revolusi. His latest movie, The Spiral, received positive reviews, too.
With another part in Malaysia’s highly-anticipated mixed martial arts flick Sangkar just around the corner, what can’t “The Pistol” do?
#3 “The Hero” Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex
The living legend Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex is one of the most feared opponents inside the ring, and all of his movie roles have seen him portray characters reflecting that.
Although it has come somewhat sparingly, the 33-year-old ONE Super Series athlete has never failed to showcase his perfect Muay Thai and kickboxing skills in front of the camera.
One notable film is 2010’s Yamada: The Samurai Of Ayothaya, where he acts as a Muay Thai exponent alongside fellow legends such as Saenchai Sor. Kingstar and Buakaw Banchamek.
#4 Yoshihiro “Sexy Yama” Akiyama
Japanese-Korean martial arts sensation Yoshihiro “Sexy Yama” Akiyama is no stranger to the entertainment industry, having started his career outside the ring in a 2007 television series called 1 Night 2 Days.
He has always had a successful career outside the athlete lifestyle through modeling and various television appearances. Akiyama’s biggest role to date came in South Korea’s 2016 war drama hit Operation Chromite.
The movie is based on real-life events at the Battle of Inchon. It went on to become a box office smash with a star-studded cast featuring Lee Jung-jae, Lee Beom-soo, and Liam Neeson.
#5 Saiful “The Vampire” Merican
Saiful “The Vampire” Merican’s journey in The Home Of Martial Arts led him to his first movie role in 2017.
“The Vampire” starred alongside Davis, as well as martial arts enthusiasts Zul Ariffin, Izara Aishah, Nur Fazura, and Farid Kamil in J Revolusi.
Merican played the role of a bad guy tussling against the police.
Despite only featuring in a couple of short scenes, Merican said he would love to get more involved in acting if future opportunities were presented.