‘He Gives Me A Lot Of Heart’ – Rodtang Opens Up On Bromance With Mikey Musumeci

Rodtang Jitmuangnon Edgar Tabares ONE Fight Night 10 28

ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon and ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Champion Mikey “Darth Rigatoni” Musumeci have crafted one of the most-loved friendships in ONE Championship.  

The pair will both compete at ONE 167: Tawanchai vs. Nattawut II on Prime Video in U.S. primetime on June 7, where they’ll add another chapter to the story of their burgeoning bromance.  

Rodtang – who will battle Denis “The Bosnian Menace” Puric in a flyweight kickboxing bout – recalls how their relationship began at ONE Fight Night 6 back in January 2023.  

Like their upcoming contests, the flyweight superstars were set to fight at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand, where Musumeci met “The Iron Man” for the first time by offering to help before weigh-ins.

Detailing that moment and how their friendship grew further, Rodtang said: 

“I was fighting Jiduo Yibu, and I needed to make weight before the fight. Mikey walked over and offered his help. I decided not to do it, so I apologized to him for not taking his offer. That was the first time we got to know each other. 

“Then he came to help me again when we fought on the same card [ONE Fight Night 10] in the USA. I told him that I firmly believed that I couldn’t make it in time. But Mikey insisted I could. I made weight successfully. And it was one pound less than the required limit. I almost gave him the belt!” 

With Musumeci’s first language being English and Rodtang’s being Thai, it seemed like an unlikely pairing.

However, their spirits connected instantly, and the language barrier was less consequential than the bond they felt with one another.  

Rodtang explained: 

“Of course, Mikey and I respect each other. It doesn’t have to be fancy words. Just looking into each other’s eyes, we know each other. 

“I have my personal interpreter. I understand some words he says, but I’m unable to communicate back because I’m not that good at English. But I understand what he’s saying. 

“He gives me a lot of heart. When people give their hearts to each other, there aren’t many words needed.” 

Rodtang And Musumeci Planning More Training In The Future 

Since becoming friends in 2023, Rodtang Jitmuangnon and Mikey Musumeci have spent time together in their respective home nations of Thailand and the USA.  

There are hundreds of athletes on ONE’s roster that either man could have forged a relationship with, but Rodtang felt a kinship with the American and invited “Darth Rigatoni” to his home. 

“The Iron Man” said: 

“Me (26) and Mikey (27) aren’t far apart in age. He honors us. And we honor him very much. We became friends.  

“He is a nice guy, a simple person, and humble. He is ready to help everyone. You feel comfortable with him. 

“When he comes to Thailand, I take care of everything for him as a host. He came to my house, and I will take him wherever he wants to go.” 

It looks like the World Champion duo are only at the beginning of their journey as friends, with their shared love for martial arts looking likely to keep them on the same path moving forward.  

For his part, Musumeci is eyeing a move to MMA, where he’ll need to hone his striking skills. Meanwhile, Rodtang could also eventually return to the sport following his special rules super-fight against Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson back in 2022. 

Already plotting their future training sessions, Rodtang revealed: 

“If Mikey is going to fight in MMA, I told him he can come to practice Muay Thai with me. I’ll teach him myself. In the future, Mikey said he would teach me MMA in exchange.  

“After my fight with DJ, I didn’t practice any more MMA. I just focused on Muay Thai and kickboxing. But if there’s an opportunity, I’ll wait for Mikey to come. I’ll build a gym and bring Mikey to teach me.” 

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