Jeremy “The Jaguar” Miado knew the odds were stacked against him.
The Manila, Philippines-based athlete entered 2018 on a two-bout skid, and a third consecutive loss would have pushed him even further away from his World Title aspirations.
To make matters even more complicated, the bout was contested in his adversary’s home ground of Bangkok, Thailand.
Despite the added wrinkle, Miado’s confidence never wavered.
“As soon as I got the news that I was fighting Dejdamrong, I was super excited. There was a lot of pressure, and I definitely felt that immediately, but I was more excited than nervous,” the 25-year-old admits.
“He was my idol. I had followed his career for a long time, so I really pushed myself to train very hard for that fight, because I knew it was my chance to do something great and prove myself.”
“Whatever kind of training I had prior to facing him, I doubled, and tripled that. I had to make a statement.”
Miado certainly made a statement.
The Filipino fearlessly stood toe-to-toe with Amnuaysirichoke. Though the Thai attacked with a devastating barrage of kicks, “The Jaguar” held his ground, and constantly threatened with boxing combinations.
That strategy quickly paid off. Just 89 seconds into the match, Miado unleashed a four-punch combination, with the final strike — a right hook — connecting on Amnuaysirichoke’s chin. The strike instantly put the Thai legend on the canvas.
Not only did the Manila resident accomplish what many deemed impossible, but he became the first person to knock out the Muay Thai legend in mixed martial arts competition. Also, he secured the second-fastest knockout in ONE Championship’s strawweight history.
“One minute, I was in the toughest fight of my career, and the next minute, I was getting my hand raised in victory,” Miado states.
“I proved to everyone that I belonged in the big leagues, and I proved to myself that I could beat a legend.
“He was one of the biggest names in martial arts — a Muay Thai legend, and a former ONE Strawweight World Champion. I knew if I beat him, my name would absolutely explode.”
For better or for worse, his name was everywhere.
As soon as he returned home to the Philippines, Miado was met with a mix of supporters and doubters. While many praised his scintillating knockout performance, others blasted his achievement, and chalked it up to a lucky punch.
“The Jaguar,” however, does not let other people’s skepticism bring him down. Instead, he uses that negative energy to fuel his pursuit towards greatness.
“It is normal to have people who doubt your career, and I have my fair share of detractors,” he explains.
“I feed off those negative comments and reactions, and I never let it affect my training or my performance negatively. I take it as an opportunity to prove my detractors wrong, and I get more excited to put on a show.
“I do not think my doubters will ever go away, but I take every opportunity to prove them wrong as a challenge I need to overcome. An important part of my game is being mentally strong, and I will never let any negative comments affect my career.”
On Friday, 29 June, the Filipino will have another chance to do so.
Kongsrichai may be known as a 13-time Thai National Wrestling Champion, but he is also a talented striker. He originally came from a Muay Thai background — having competed in over 200 bouts and picking up a Southern Thailand Championship in the process.
Although Miado is fully aware of the talent and explosiveness his rival possesses, he is not fazed by the upcoming challenge at all. Just like he did against Amnuaysirichoke, “The Jaguar” expects to claim another victory.
“I know if I stick to my guns and work hard in training, I will be ready to do it all over again,” he states.
“It does not matter who the opponent is. Right now, it is Kongsrichai, and I will be ready for whatever he brings to the table.”
Miado is using this bout as a chance to show the world he is not a one-hit wonder. Also, he is using it as an opportunity to inspire others, who may feel like they are trying to accomplish something in their lives that is impossible.
A victory, “The Jaguar” feels, would serve well to prove that anything can be achieved through hard work.
“I think anyone can do anything they want if they try hard enough,” he says.
“I am a firm believer in hard work, and I think if you put in the time and effort, you will be rewarded. Superstars do not become superstars without effort.
“I cannot tell you how many times I doubted myself, but I beat those thoughts every single time. To everyone who is facing challenges in their lives, just push through it, stay mentally strong, and do what you need to do. Success will come eventually.”
Yangon | 29 June | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast