Yohann Fairtex Drai’s goal in life are simple – to compete against the best martial artists in the world, and become the best martial artist he can be.
The Frenchman is delighted, therefore, to join the ONE Super Series roster, and test himself against the greatest Muay Thai warriors on the planet.
Malaysia’s Axiata Arena provides the venue for the 26-year-old, and though it is his debut in the organization, he is already aiming high.
“The goal is to have the 70-kilogram belt, to fight the strongest fighters, and for myself to become better each fight,” he says.
“Each fight, I feel I become better and a little stronger, and this is my goal, more than anything. I like what I do, and I want to get stronger. Every day I wake up, and think about how I can be stronger.”
The Super Muay Thai Champion finds himself in the perfect situation to do that.
Training out of the famed Fairtex gym in Pattaya, Thailand, he learns the finer points of his craft every day with some of the best strikers today. One of those men is the legend, Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex, who made a spectacular ONE Super Series debut in May.
Drai proved his efforts in training have paid off in his last match, when he defeated three-time Rajadamnern Stadium Champion World Champion Jomthong Chuwattana to raise his professional record to 42-6.
He expects his opponents in ONE will offer an even greater test – but that is the way he likes it, and he is excited to challenge himself against them.
“The level in ONE is very, very high. They have only Thai Champions, and from the fights I saw, it’s a very high level with good matchmaking,” he says.
His first opponent under the ONE banner is two-division Lion Fight World Champion “Smokin” Jo Nattawut, who carries an eye-opening 66-7-2 record into battle.
Having the chance to compete against a world-renowned martial artist, and in the co-main event of a huge show in Malaysia, is perfect for the man from Marseille.
He expects Nattawut to come into the contest at his best, but no matter how tightly-honed the Thai superstar’s skills are, Drai says he will be ready.
“He is a good kicker. His technique is also good. He has a big heart, but I know I have a big heart too.” he explains.
“At this level, all the fighters are strong. My preparation doesn’t change if it’s him or another fighter – just my tactical plan. Everyone is strong, so if you are not prepared, you cannot win, for sure.”
He admits his technique may be as perfect as some of his adversaries who have trained since they were children – he only began learning the “art of eight limbs” in his 20s – but he still has many tools to win.
Chief among them is his warrior spirit, which powers his aggressive, all-action, never-give-up style.
Not only will that cause problems for many of the best Muay Thai artists in the world, it should make for an exciting bout – whomever he is matched up against.
“I cannot abandon my style. I will fight until I die,” he says.
“I think I have everything, I just adapt to the fighter. I’m not the strongest kicker like [Yodsanklai] or other fighters, I’m not the strongest puncher, but I have the gas tank to fight anybody.
“I think it will be a very intense, non-stop fight, because he will do everything to win, and I will do everything to win also.”