A Fresh Start: ONE Stars Share Their New Year’s Resolutions For 2021

MMA fighter Aung La N Sang is ready for ONE on TNT!

After grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic for much of 2020, everyone had been looking forward to brighter days in the New Year.

When the ball dropped and the clock struck midnight in time zones all over the world on 31 December, people were given the chance for a fresh start – and with that fresh start comes new goals for the next 365 days.

Of course, the stars of ONE Championship have plenty of big dreams, both in their personal lives and careers. Here, our martial arts heroes share their New Year’s resolutions for 2021.

Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat

Indian martial artist Ritu Phogat prays before her upcoming bout

“My goal for 2021 is to be part of the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix. When [the matchmakers] announce the eight names for the tournament, I hope my name is among them.

“My coach and I are working hard every day, and I am steadily improving my skills. I’ll be taking part in every match to remain undefeated, and I wish that my [perfect] record is never broken.”

Sitthichai “Killer Kid” Sitsongpeenong

Muay Thai and kickboxing superstar Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong training at Venum

“I would like to have another chance to fight in ONE Championship. I am disappointed that I lost in my debut, so I would like to show a better performance and win my next fight.”

Arjan “Singh” Bhullar

Indian mixed martial artist Arjan Bhullar enters the arena for his debut

My New Year’s resolution for 2021 is to get my World Title bout. Of course, it’s not up to me, it’s up to the company. But whenever I get it, I wish to win the bout, the gold, and the title.

“I want to be India’s first [Mixed Martial Arts] World Champion. I want to be a champion for myself and all of the Indian MMA fans. I have been training all my life to be a World Champion, and it will happen in 2021.”

Thanh Le

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

“Everybody being able to return to normalcy [is my hope for 2021]. That means a lot. That means people are doing what they love again. People are able to go enjoy the weekends, the sunlight, the summers – you know, really getting back to normal. I want to see people enjoy their lives without being scared of touching anything that’s in public.”

Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi

Japanese martial artist Mei Yamaguchi poses on the ramp

“In 2021, I am looking forward to having the greatest year in my career. Also, I want to win the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix. I want to get better at golf, too!”

Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu

Japanese MMA star Yuya Wakamatsu fights South Korean phenom Kim Kyu Sung at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX II in Singapore

“As an athlete, my New Year’s resolution is to become a World Champion. And my personal goal is to buy a house and a car after becoming a World Champion. I want to buy a Mercedes-Benz G-Class! It simply has a cool shape and also, it’s a powerful car!”

Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang

Two-division ONE World Champion Aung La N Sang

“I never have New Year’s resolutions. I have goals that I set. My goal is to get my middleweight belt back, defend my light heavyweight belt, put on entertaining shows for the fans, and just be the best mixed martial artist I can be so that I can give back to Myanmar when I’m done.

“Getting my belt back is all that’s on my mind right now and giving Reinier [De Ridder] a whooping. If it’s not Reinier, then I really don’t care. I’ll take out all the contenders. Just line them up. It doesn’t really matter to me. I’m not set on Reinier. I’m set on anyone and everyone to get my belt back.”

Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama

Japanese-Korean mixed martial arts legend Yoshihiro Akiyama smiles

“First and foremost, ONE Championship athletes should be in a position to inspire and encourage fans to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. On that condition, my New Year’s resolutions are to compete for my life in bouts that will be ahead of me, and I want to be a competitor that people around the world will think is sexy forever!

“Also, It would be great if a ONE event is held in Korea. I want to gather athletes from Korea and Japan who could join ONE Championship. Also, making my YouTube channel successful is one of my goals.”

Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon

Rodtang Jitmuangnon defeats Jonathan Haggerty at ONE A NEW TOMORROW DC 2188.jpg

“I would like to improve my performance, have more fans, and gain more followers. I would like to have more time to take care of my father since I almost had no time to go back home to Koh Samui because I spent most of my time at the gym in Bangkok.”

Itsuki “Strong Heart Fighter” Hirata

Japanese judo specialist Itsuki Hirata celebrates her win against Nyrene Crowley

“I want to keep winning, but I also want to remain a mentally strong and kind person. As a personal goal, I want to move and get a dog. Also, I am looking forward to the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix!”

Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio

MMA fighter Geje Eustaquio squares off against Song Min Jong in the main event of ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX III

“My New Year’s resolution is to be more positive, to always look at the beauty of everything whether in good times or bad. As an athlete, it’s the same – just to keep on working to be a better athlete. I look forward to competing more and, of course, to stretch my winning run further.”

Stamp Fairtex

Thai superstar Stamp Fairtex dances her way to the ring

“I would like to focus on training more than before. I would like to take back both ONE World Titles that I lost and keep them forever. Also, I plan to invest more in a durian farm. I will buy more land to grow durian. I will do my best for running my durian farm business and fight. This is my long-term plan for when I get old and can’t be a fighter anymore.”

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

“I feel it’s going to be a busy year. I just want to take on 2021, each month and each moment, head-on. I want a lot of challenges in 2021. That’s what 2021 will be for me – it’ll be the year of challenges.

“All I can say is that I’m going to have a lot of fights. I’ll be holding onto a winning streak. That’s my train of thought. And yeah, enjoying the moment with a tub of ice cream.”

Rene “The Challenger” Catalan

Filipino Wushu World Champion Rene Catalan

“My resolution is to help more athletes build their dreams, guide them in honing their skills, and hopefully get them to ONE Championship so they can have the chance to rise above their personal hardships in life.”

Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang

Japanese MMA fighter Hiroba Minowa squares off against Filipino MMA fighter Lito Adiwang at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX III

“It’s all simply about being a better person and, of course, I want to explore more things in life.

“Also, I look forward to achieving both my goals in my life and in my career. Such goals are winning and being at my best in my future fights so I can get closer to the strap. If I can challenge for it next year, then that’s the ultimate goal.

“On the other hand, my goal for my family is that I get to finish the house that I’m building for them. I hope to finish it this year.”

Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol

Chinese MMA star Meng Bo knocks out Indonesian MMA fighter Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX II in Singapore

“I am praying that 2021 will be full of blessings and full of new adventures as a wife, mother, and fighter. I want to compete in the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix. We never know. I hope 2021 will be a lot better than 2020, where all of my dreams can come true.”

Eko Roni Saputra

Indonesia MMA star Eko Roni Saputra fights Ramon Gonzales at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX II in Singapore

“I want to be more focused. I want to work harder. I want to compete again in Indonesia with the full support of my compatriots inside the Istora Senayan in Jakarta. I am ready against anyone offered to me by ONE Championship. Whoever it is, I’ll be ready.”

Lerdsila Phuket Top Team

Eight-time Muay Thai World Champion Lerdsila Phuket Top Team defeats Savvas Michael in August 2019 and celebrates

“If there is no more COVID-19 or this situation gets better, then I would like to go to the US for Muay Thai seminars. I had around 20 seminars booked last year, but they got canceled. I miss my fans and would like to do what I love.”

Adrian “Papua Badboy” Mattheis

Indonesian mixed martial artist Adrian Mattheis heads to the Circle

“I want to face the ONE Strawweight World Champion, but I am ready to fight anyone and I won’t back down.

“I also wonder how I would fare against Alex Silva. He is a perfect opponent because he can elevate my rank. If not, I want to meet with kakak Stefer [Rahardian] again. Alex Silva managed to submit kakak Stefer, and if you ask me, I only lost to Stefer by a thin margin. I am really curious.

“I also want my fellow Indonesians to have more fights in 2021 because my seniors like Rudy Agustian, Abro Fernandes, and Priscilla have told me they are itching to fight.”

“The Terminator” Sunoto

"The Terminator" Sunoto wins in February 2020

“I want to see how Terminator Top Team will grow. We want to compete in amateur tournaments and get official recognition from the local government. Hopefully, we can get the necessary support from the authority so we can grow even more exponentially. It’s the first martial arts team in my region, and I want to raise people’s awareness, too.”

Read more: The Top 5 MMA Fighters Of 2020

More in Features

Aaron Canarte Akbar Abdullaev ONE Fight Night 12 5
Christian Lee becomes the new ONE Welterweight World Champion
Scottish Muay Thai fighter Amy Pirnie
Jarred Brooks Joshua Pacio ONE 166 12
Hiroba Minowa Gustavo Balart ONE 165 77
Nico Carrillo Saemapetch Fairtex ONE Fight Night 23 40
Ok Rae Yoon Alibeg Rasulov ONE Fight Night 23 36
Ok Rae Yoon Lowen Tynanes ONE Fight Night 10 68
Muangthai PK Saenchai Nico Carrillo ONE Friday Fights 22 38
Pictures from Eddie Alvarez vs. Ok Rae Yoon from "ONE on TNT IV"
Alibeg Rasulov
Prajanchai PK Saenchai Jonathan Di Bella ONE Friday Fights 68 77