Fans were glued to every second of the action, as MMA legend “Mighty Mouse” survived the all-striking first round and then submitted the reigning ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion in the second.
The unique contest was a hit across the martial arts world, and given that positive reception, ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong said fans can expect more matchups that alternate between rule sets in the future.
With that in mind, here are five special rules super-fights featuring athletes in different sports that we’d love to see inside the Circle.
#1 Demetrious Johnson vs. Jonathan Haggerty
British Muay Thai star Jonathan Haggerty has been discussing a move to MMA for a long time. After growing up around the sport, the Londoner says it’s inevitable that he’ll compete under the all-around rule set.
He’s also been vocal about getting a match with Johnson – insisting that he’d be a tougher test for the American legend than Rodtang was – although a straight-up MMA bout against the most dominant flyweight in history might be a step too far.
Instead, a hybrid clash that switches between his striking specialty and DJ’s home turf of mixed martial arts could serve as a good entrance into the new sport for the former ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion.
#2 Xiong Jing Nan vs. Wondergirl
ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan has proven that she’s the heaviest hitter in the mixed martial arts division of her weight class, but how would she stack up against the striking purists?
The former boxer has heavy hands, but a Muay Thai practicioner like Nat “Wondergirl” Jaroonsak would bring a ton firepower against the Chinese star.
Wondergirl owns two stoppage wins in ONE Super Series, and she’s also registered her interest in a move to MMA.
“The Panda” could put her striking to the ultimate test, while the Marrok Force athlete would get to evaluate her improving ground skills against an elite rival.
#3 Rodtang vs. Jarred Brooks
Rodtang really put the heat on Johnson in the first round of their special-rules contest at ONE X, before ultimately going out on his shield to a rear-naked choke in round two.
If the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion takes on another hybrid-style bout, a good adversary would be Jarred Brooks.
The #1 strawweight MMA contender never backs down from a challenge. He’s an elite wrestler, but he doesn’t have the same level of striking or experience as “Mighty Mouse,” which could offer more opportunities for “The Iron Man” to finish early.
Meanwhile, a back-and-forth between Brooks and Stamp Fairtex on Instagram earlier in the year could add some spice, with Stamp joking that she might go out with “The Monkey God” if he could beat her former boyfriend inside the Circle.
#4 Angela Lee vs. Janet Todd
Although Lee is a well-rounded MMA athlete, she’s most known for her ground acumen, which she displayed when she submitted Stamp to retain the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title at ONE X.
While Todd has tried her hand at jiu-jitsu, she admitted she has no desire to switch sports. But perhaps a high-profile mixed-rules fight could entice the ONE Women’s Atomweight Kickboxing World Champion to try it out.
“Unstoppable” has shown her toughness by battling through painful stand-up exchanges, although Todd might not let her off the hook if she lands some powerful shots in an all-striking round.
#5 Thanh Le vs. Superbon
Another World Champion vs. World Champion battle would be a huge hit for the fans, but for completely different reasons.
ONE Featherweight World Champion Thanh Le sits atop the mixed martial arts mountain, but he’s a lifelong striker who uses every limb to devastate opponents on the feet.
Meanwhile, ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Champion Superbon Singha Mawynn has crushed his opposition in ONE Super Series so far – including Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong, Marat Grigorian, and Giorgio Petrosyan – but how would he deal with a much less conventional stand-up artist?
Le’s background is in taekwondo, and he moves very differently than what the Thai athlete is used to. Could Superbon adjust fast enough in a striking round before having to face all of Le’s weapons in MMA?