There’s no question that 2020 was the year of strikers in ONE Championship.
The promotion’s all-striking league – ONE Super Series – saw inaugural World Champions get crowned, World Titles change hands, and divisional kings hold down their reigns.
With that said, let’s look back at the top five ONE Super Series kickboxing and Muay Thai fighters of the year.
#1 Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy
Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy wasn’t a ONE World Champion when he exited 2019, but after his very first fight of 2020, he had the belt draped over his shoulder and then proceeded to defend it twice.
Two months later, Lion Fight Super-Welterweight Champion Magnus “Crazy Viking” Andersson tried to dethrone Petchmorakot, but the Petchyindee Academy standout defended his belt once more, scoring a third-round TKO over the Swedish striker.
Having gone 3-0 with two successful World Title defenses in 2020, Petchmorakot is just getting warmed up. We might just see him hold the strap well into 2021.
#2 Rodtang Jitmuangnon
ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon began 2020 right where he left off in 2019.
After ending the previous year with a scorching World Title defense against Brazilian banger Walter Goncalves, Rodtang turned his attention to old foe and former belt holder Jonathan “The General” Haggerty.
Having already beaten Haggerty in 2019, Rodtang’s confidence soared in their second clash at ONE: A NEW TOMORROW this past January.
The Thai spent most of the rematch working the body of the Englishman before sealing the deal in the third round, where he scored three knockdowns en route to a TKO victory.
With two impressive wins against top-ranked contenders, Rodtang bumped his undefeated ONE Super Series record to 8-0. And given his destructive style, it’s hard to see any flyweight snatching the belt from “The Iron Man” anytime soon.
#3 Sam-A Gaiyanghadao
When Sam-A Gaiyanghadao beat “Golden Boy” Wang Junguang to earn the inaugural ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Title at the end of 2019, little did fans know that he’d soon be adding another accolade to his trophy case.
In February at ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE, Sam-A stepped into the Circle against Australian prodigy Rocky Ogden to decide the outcome of another inaugural strap – the ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Championship.
In typical Sam-A fashion, he picked Ogden apart across five rounds and became the first ONE Super Series strawweight athlete to win a belt in both kickboxing and Muay Thai.
The two-sport ONE World Champion then remained a dominant force in his division by successfully defending his Muay Thai strap against #1-ranked contender Josh “Timebomb” Tonna at ONE: REIGN OF DYNASTIES in October.
Sam-A has already beaten five of the eight combined athletes in ONE’s strawweight kickboxing and Muay Thai rankings. In 2021, we may see him scratch a few more names off that list.
#4 Janet Todd
The two women battled it out for the inaugural ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Title at ONE: CALL TO GREATNESS, and after five rounds, Stamp was awarded the unanimous decision and the vacant gold.
But Todd would defeat her next three opponents, which set up a rematch with her former tormentor at ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE – precisely one year after their monumental Muay Thai clash.
This time, Stamp’s ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Title was on the line – and the outcome was very different.
The two strikers went back and forth in a grueling five-round thriller. But in the later rounds, Todd had just a bit more fuel in the tank and pulled away for the split-decision win – and the atomweight kickboxing gold.
“JT” has now defeated three of the top five women in the atomweight kickboxing division, which means there are at least two new challengers who will be eying her strap in 2021.
#5 Allycia Hellen Rodrigues
Not many athletes can say they made their ONE debut and captured a World Title on the same night, but ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Champion Allycia Hellen Rodrigues is a rare fighter.
Most fans expected Stamp to defend her belt rather easily against the promotional newcomer, but the Brazilian had other plans.
After easing her way into the five-round battle, Rodrigues turned the screw on Stamp as she careened high kicks and straight rights into the Thai’s head. The Fairtex athlete started to fade and couldn’t find a way past her opponent’s range and timing.
When the five rounds came to an end, the judges awarded Rodrigues the majority decision win, and she returned home as the new divisional queen.
Read more: The Top 5 MMA Fighters Of 2020