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10 MMA Stars We’d Love To See In Muay Thai Or Kickboxing

Jun 25, 2021

A diverse skill set is essential for any athlete who competes in ONE Championship’s mixed martial arts ranks, but many of those athletes are also stand-up specialists with backgrounds in the striking arts.

And given that ONE Super Series has been an enormous hit since its inception in 2018, some of the promotion’s leading MMA stars have hinted at their desire to compete in the world’s best all-striking league.

With that in mind, here are 10 ONE Championship mixed martial artists we’d love to see try their hand in ONE Super Series Muay Thai or kickboxing.

Xiong Jing Nan

Xiong Jing Nan fights Tiffany Teo in a ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title rematch at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX on Friday, 30 October

“The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan is a big hitter who takes out rivals with her relentless attacks and heavy leather.

The reigning ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion began her combat sports journey by achieving success as a boxer before turning her attention to mixed martial arts.

Now training with numerous Muay Thai World Champions at Evolve, Xiong’s use of kicks, knees, and elbows has come on at a rapid pace. Combined with the power of her hands, it would be interesting to see how the Chinese star’s attacking style would translate into striking-only bouts.

Demetrious Johnson

Demetrious Johnson tussles with Danny Kingad at ONE CENTURY

After his last bout at “ONE on TNT I,” Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson suggested that his next encounter could take place under kickboxing rules, though he may have dialed back his enthusiasm a little since then.

Johnson started as a wrestler, but he’s become known as one of the best all-around athletes in mixed martial arts history. 

Moreover, he’s never afraid to test himself. If “Mighty Mouse” does compete in ONE Super Series, it would show just how varied and effective his skill set is.

Eduard Folayang

For a decade, Eduard “Landslide” Folayang has gone up against the best in ONE’s lightweight mixed martial arts division, and it was his striking that set him apart en route to a pair of World Title reigns.

The Team Lakay man is a skilled wushu practitioner who captured many accolades in the sport before he turned to MMA.

His explosive kicks, in particular, are incredible assets, and seeing him unleash them with full confidence in a stand-up only contest would be fascinating.

Brandon Vera

brandon vera one heavyweight world champion

Brandon “The Truth” Vera has made a career out of knocking people out, and all of his wins in ONE have come via strikes in the first round.

However, the former ONE Heavyweight World Champion started out as a wrestler. It wasn’t until he found mixed martial arts that he teamed up with famed kickboxer Rob Kaman in 2003.

“The Truth” went on to establish himself as a formidable striker, and it’s always been his staple in the Circle. How would he fare against some of ONE Super Series’ bruising heavyweights?

Amir Khan

Exclusive photos from Singaporean fighter Amir Khan and South Korean star Dae Hwan Kim’s MMA fight at ONE: COLLISION COURSE II on 25 December

Holding the second-place spot in ONE’s all-time knockout list with nine, Amir Khan is clearly proficient on the feet.

A former Singaporean Muay Thai Champion, Khan has honed his skills alongside some of the greatest athletes ever in “the art of eight limbs” at Evolve.

The chance to go back to his roots could offer up some interesting battles in the growing ONE Super Series lightweight division.



Zebaztian Kadestam

Striking has always been Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam’s bread and butter. His heavy hands, powerful kicks, and clattering knees and elbows pushed him to the ONE Welterweight World Championship.

After getting his early life back on track with martial arts, Kadestam moved to Thailand to train in both Muay Thai and mixed martial arts, and he earned a WBC Muay Thai World Title before focusing fully on the all-encompassing sport.

With ONE Super Series now a massive feature in The Home Of Martial Arts, “The Bandit” is eager to compete in stand-up battles where he can unleash his biggest weapons with no fear of a wrestler trying to take him down.

Thanh Le

Thanh Le fights Martin Nguyen at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX on Friday, 30 October

ONE Featherweight World Champion Thanh Le has a phenomenal striking repertoire.

The Vietnamese-American’s father is a lifelong martial artist who runs his own taekwondo school, and Le grew up under his tutelage in that gym.

The divisional king now has an expansive game that includes fast, powerful kicks and concussive punching that pushed him to the top in ONE.

Mark Abelardo

MMA fight: Mark Fairtex Abelardo fights Emilio Urrutia at ONE: FISTS OF FURY II

Representing the world-famous Fairtex Training Center in Pattaya, Thailand, Mark “Tyson” Fairtex Abelardo can count the likes of Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex and Saemapetch Fairtex as teammates.

The compact Kiwi owns an arsenal of hard punches and low kicks that are dangerous enough, but he’s also shown his love for all “eight limbs,” with knees and elbows.

Utilizing all of those tools in a Muay Thai battle could lead to spectacular results – like Abelardo’s spear elbow KO of Emilio “The Honey Badger” Urrutia at ONE: FISTS OF FURY II.

John Lineker

Scenes from John Lineker versus Troy Worthen at "ONE on TNT III"

The great equalizer in any striking art is power, and John “Hands of Stone” Lineker has that in spades.

The Brazilian brawler possesses an innate ability to turn off his opponents’ lights with his punches; when he touches them, they go down.

He is not known as much of a kicker, so it would be exciting to see how the top bantamweight contender would fare against ONE Super Series athletes with more developed lower-limb attacks.

Yuya Wakamatsu

Scenes from Yuya Wakamatsu vs. Reece McLaren at "ONE on TNT III"

Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu is another mixed martial artist with incredible punching power that could give any striker trouble.

Fans have witnessed his chin-spinning right hand in action against opponents who are dead-set on pursuing the takedown but run into the dangerous weapon.

By having the freedom to plant his feet and throw without the fear of being taken down, how much damage could the Japanese star do?

Read more: How To Learn Muay Thai Online From World Champs Nong-O, Sam-A

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