ONE Championship’s size and reach has grown from strength to strength since the promotion’s inception in 2011.
2018 was a colossal year for the world’s largest martial arts organization, as ONE broke records, forged new paths, and expanded its sizable influence on the global stage.
In addition, the world’s best martial artists continued to shine with incredible performances, and more fans than ever were a part of the phenomenon.
Here are the five biggest stories from ONE Championship’s landmark year in 2018.
#5 ONE Championship Put On Its Biggest Blockbuster To Date
Michael Schiavello breaks down the epic bout between Srisaket and Iran Diaz.Download the ONE Super App now ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, December 14, 2018
In terms of volume, 2018 was ONE’s busiest year ever, with 24 spectacular events and 279 bouts in total.
Quantity was partnered with quality, as the promotion also held its biggest shows and reached more people around the world.
October’s ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES in Bangkok, Thailand, is a prime example. The show was simply massive, as it hosted ONE Championship’s first-ever boxing bout in a packed-out Impact Arena.
Top pound-for-pound pugilist Srisaket Sor Rungvisai defended his WBC Super Flyweight World Title against Mexico’s Iran Diaz, and the show also starred the likes of Shinya Aoki, Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, and Andy Souwer — true combat royalty.
The returns were phenomenal – the event was watched by an astonishing 25 million viewers worldwide, with Thailand also going on to register a record-breaking peak TV ratings share of 58.5 percent.
#4 ONE Championship Expands To North America
"Mighty Mouse" Johnson & Eddie Alvarez are ready to BRING IT ????Watch the full event LIVE & FREE on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, November 9, 2018
ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong had always kept his eye on the best talent North America had to offer, but in late 2018, he made power moves to bring in some of the world’s most prominent mixed martial artists.
Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez, who had already held world championship gold in the west’s two largest promotions, inked a deal to return to Asia for a historic quest. Then, 12-time flyweight world champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson signed for ONE as the most dominant mixed martial arts world champion in history.
Finally, one of the sport’s top up-and-coming superstars, multiple-time karate world champion “Super” Sage Northcutt also followed suit, and this slew of big-name acquisitions started an explosion of interest in The Home Of Martial Arts.
The massive signings were capped off by a monumental North American broadcast deal, which will undoubtedly help ONE Championship showcase the world’s most exciting martial arts action to an ever-growing audience in the Western hemisphere.
#3 Aung La N Sang’s Incredible Year
The Myanmar national hero was already a superstar, but this year, Aung La N Sang propelled himself to new levels.
After winning the ONE Middleweight World Title in 2017, and opened up his 2018 slate with a successful challenge for the vacant ONE Light Heavyweight World Title. With an emphatic KO over Alexandre Machado, he became only the second man in the promotion’s history to become a two-division World Champion.
#2 ONE Super Series Wowed The World
Giorgio Petrosyan's jaw-dropping striking display from ONE: HEART OF THE LION!Download the ONE Super App now ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, November 9, 2018
ONE Super Series was only introduced in April this year, but it has already established itself as the world’s leading promotion for premier Muay Thai and kickboxing action.
The debut of ONE Super Series at ONE: HEROES OF HONOR featured the likes of Giorgio Petrosyan, Jo Nattawut, and Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, so it was clear that the objective was provide a platform for the greatest strikers in the world today.
There have been 57 ONE Super Series battles since then, and each one has been a huge hit with fans around the world.
ONE Super Series continued to see an influx of elite athletes to compete in these striking-only battles, and ONE is now the home to the most decorated array of world champion strikers on the planet, including the likes of the great Yodsanklai Fairtex.
#1 Team Lakay Made History
The beginning of a new era for Team Lakay!Full docu-feature ???? http://bit.ly/onefeatureteamlakay
Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, December 24, 2018
It has been an extraordinary year for Baguio City’s Team Lakay. The humble gym from the Philippines had been a growing force on the global stage for martial arts for years, but in 2018, they took over.
They entered January with zero belts in their trophy cabinet, but they leave December holding four: Joshua Pacio, Geje Eustaquio, Kevin Belingon, and Eduard Folayang all sit on the thrones of their respective divisions.
The first to strike was Geje Eustaquio, who first defeated Kairat Akhmetov for the interim belt in January, before becoming the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion with a decision win over Adriano Moraes in June.
Joshua Pacio then earned redemption in a rematch against Yoshitaka Naito on 22 September, and dethroned the defending champion via unanimous decision to earn the ONE Strawwweight World Title.
Just two months later, in a thrilling contest in Singapore, Kevin Belingon also returned the favor against an old rival. With a spectacular display of heart and skill, he defeated ONE’s most dominant martial artist in history, Bibiano Fernandes, to become the ONE Bantamweight World Champion.
Topping off a phenomenal year for the Filipinos, Eduard Folayang then overcame Amir Khan in front of his countrymen in Manila to become ONE Lightweight World Champion for the second time.
It is an amazing feat for Mark Sangiao’s modest gym in the mountainous region of Benguet, and sets the stage for a fascinating 2019.