Janet “JT” Todd is one of the most dangerous women in ONE Super Series, but she admits she may never have even begun her martial arts career if she had not met her husband 12 years ago.
The California native – who will challenge Stamp Fairtex for the ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Championship in the main event at ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE – discovered Muay Thai thanks to her then-boyfriend, Dustin, when she was in college.
After cheerleading in high school, the Japanese-American got involved in a cardio kickboxing class while she was studying for her degree in aerospace engineering.
Though Dustin had stopped practicing martial arts to focus on training at the police academy to become a sheriff, he suggested Janet should check out a local Muay Thai gym to see if she enjoyed it.
That proved to be a huge turning point in her life.
“I really don’t know if I would have discovered [Muay Thai] or not without him,” Todd explains.
“There are so many good things that came after discovering it, some of my best friends are because we train together. Some of my best experiences are because I discovered Muay Thai. It’s crazy how that works.”
Todd began to dedicate more and more of her time to training but says she never practiced with her other half.
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However, Dustin was always there to help her outside the gym, and he has used his knowledge to be an integral part of Team Todd – whether that is through offering moral support or more practical advice.
“We’re one of those odd couples. We just cannot train together,” she laughs.
“We still watch tape together and we analyze fights together. He’ll give me input. He won’t be in the gym holding pads for me, that’s for sure.
“I think we work so well together because he was part of that scene before, so he understands the dedication and the sacrifice that goes into being prepared for these fights, and the nerves and the emotions that go up and down during this process.
“Having somebody that understands that and supports you regardless, and that’s a rock for you when you have those bad training days to bring you back up, it’s really important. I seriously can’t do this without him.”
Because she has to dedicate so much of her time to training, the 34-year-old kickboxer also leans on her husband to help her with all the little things that fall by the wayside during an intense period of bout preparation.
These days, Dustin is currently working as a bounty hunter for a bail bond company and as a private investigator near their home in California. Even though he has his own business, he makes sure his wife has what she needs after an exhausting evening’s training.
“Sometimes I just don’t have the time to run out to the store to get my bag of spinach,” she says.
“When I’m training until 10 o’clock at night, he’s going to the grocery store to get me whatever I need, so when I get back, I have it at home. Having that definitely helps.”
Because of his demanding workload, the only thing Dustin cannot always do is be by “JT’s” side when she travels to compete, but with such a huge match on the horizon, she is hoping he can make the trip to Singapore and help her become a World Champion.
“He hasn’t been able to come to all of them. He’s pretty busy, too, but I definitely hope he’s at this one!” she adds.