‘Very Inspiring’ – Smilla Sundell Excited To Headline ONE Fight Night 14 Alongside Other High-Profile Women’s Bouts

Smilla Sundell wins the inaugural ONE Women's Strawweight Muay Thai World Championship at ONE 156

Female martial artists have not always been respected and showcased like their male counterparts, but Smilla Sundell thinks the tide has turned.

The reigning ONE Women’s Strawweight Muay Thai World Champion – who will defend her gold against atomweight Muay Thai queen Allycia Hellen Rodrigues on Friday, September 29 – feels like combat sports fans now take the warrior women seriously, with ONE Championship being a driving force.

Many women’s superstars have been built in the organization, and at ONE Fight Night 14 on Prime Video, they will headline the action with four featured bouts in U.S. primetime.

As well as Sundell vs. Rodrigues, Stamp Fairtex and Ham Seo Hee will battle for the ONE Interim Atomweight MMA World Title, Danielle Kelly and Jessa Khan will face off for the inaugural ONE Atomweight Submission Grappling World Title, and Xiong Jing Nan will meet Nat “Wondergirl” Jaroonsak in a strawweight special rules striking match.

For her part, Sundell is ecstatic and proud to be competing in a World Champion vs. World Champion contest on a card that is stacked with leading ladies.

She told onefc.com:

“I think it’s very cool of ONE Championship for doing it. It’s very inspiring, especially for girls, to see that we are doing it so they can also do it.

“People are starting to see the excitement the female fights bring now. I get messages on Instagram and everywhere saying, ‘Oh, wow, these female fighters are so good,’ and it’s very exciting.”

Alongside the likes of Angela Lee, Xiong Jing Nan, and her teammate Stamp Fairtex, the quiet teenager has become one of the standout figures leading this women’s martial arts movement, while her introverted nature contrasts with her fierce fighting style.

While she wouldn’t be the first to put herself out there to offer advice, Sundell is happy to motivate the next generation of female athletes with her actions – and she’s proof that combat sports can benefit your life in many ways.

The 18-year-old phenom explained:

“I want [girls watching] to see me as someone that shows if you work hard, you can achieve anything.

“I feel more confident now. I feel like a stronger person. I’m still very shy out in public and everywhere else, but now, it’s a lot better because of Muay Thai.”

‘Don’t Be Discouraged’ – Smilla Sundell Urges More Young Girls To Try Muay Thai

Like other combat sports, far fewer women still participate in Muay Thai compared to their male counterparts. And while Smilla Sundell isn’t fazed by training with World Champion men anymore, she can understand why it might be daunting for so many people.

With the potential to get hurt by bigger, stronger sparring partners and fewer women to train with, it’s tough to walk through the door of a gym for the first time.

But while it can be intimidating, the Swedish star thinks there are ways to ease into the potentially scary endeavor.

Sundell offered:

“I think you should go with a friend or someone you like when you try it out. For me, it was my family. Then it was me and my sister who continued. I think you should take a friend with you or someone that you feel comfortable with.

“You’ve just got to do it. Just try it, and if it’s not for you then that’s okay. You’ve really got to give it more than an hour or two. Don’t be discouraged even after an hour’s session, because maybe you just had a bad session.

“I think if you don’t like that place, find another place. Maybe you could enjoy it better at the right place.”

Beyond her personal growth, Sundell has seen the positive impact that Muay Thai is making on people around her. For that reason, she would encourage more women and young girls to at least give it a go.

Each of them will arrive with different goals – be it fitness, self-defense, competition, or just fun – but the Swede thinks everybody can reap some benefits from training in “the art of eight limbs” if they manage to get over that first hurdle.

She added:

“I’ve seen people in my circle of friends, and even in my family, who are trying it out now. They have grown to like it too. They think it’s very fun and makes them feel fit and feel good about themselves.

“I think by doing Muay Thai, you will be more confident, and you will feel fitter and healthier. It’s really good training for someone because you move your whole body. It will help you feel good about yourself.”

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