Originally from Terengganu in Eastern Malaysia, top-ranked Muay Thai kickboxer Saiful Merican has been competing in combat sports since he was 11 years old. Coming from a humble background, Merican fell in love with Muay Thai after watching videos of famed champion Samart Payakaroon, and dedicated himself to training. He even made frequent trips to Thailand in order to train and compete, all while juggling school and examinations in Malaysia.
His efforts would pay off in 2008, when he secured the top ranking at 57 kg according to the World Muay Thai Association (WMA). Merican dedicated his success to his father, who had passed away the year before. The win changed his fortunes, and led to him becoming a star in his native Malaysia.
In 2011, Merican became interested in mixed martial arts after ONE Championship’s first show in Malaysia, and began training diligently to test his skills in the cage. He made his professional debut in 2013, and “The Vampire” is now the owner of a respectable cage record. However, Merican is most known for his martial arts spirit. After defeating Cambodian Khim Dima at ONE: WAR OF NATIONS in March 2014, he donated all of his winnings to his opponent, who had tragically lost his family home in a fire.