‘I Became A Stronger Woman After Facing Life Alone’ – Sacrifice Propelled Allycia Hellen Rodrigues To Muay Thai Glory
Allycia Hellen Rodrigues gave up the life she knew for the life she dreamed about – and it paid off in a major way.
The reigning ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Champion won the biggest prize in the sport back in 2020, and following the birth of her first child, she’ll return to face interim titleholder Janet Todd in a World Title unification bout at ONE Fight Night 8: Superlek vs. Rodtang on Prime Video.
It hasn’t always been easy, but the Brazilian striker persevered, learned to be independent, and eventually achieved glory in “the art of eight limbs.”
Find out all about Rodrigues’ journey to the top before she battles Todd at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday, March 24.
‘Family Has Always Been Everything’
Rodrigues was born and raised in Caucaia, Brazil, which is located in the northeast part of the country and hugs the Atlantic coastline.
She was part of a close-knit family with her parents and sister, while athletics always played a massive role in her life.
“I had a healthy childhood. I always played sports like soccer, capoeira, swimming, and handball.
“My family has always been my base. My parents and my sister are my foundation. Family has always been everything to me.”
Being a professional athlete was the Brazilian’s goal from a young age. It was written into her genes, and also fully supported by her mother and father.
And although her sport of choice changed after childhood, the unwavering support she received remained constant.
“My father was a professional soccer player and my mother was a seamstress. My parents always encouraged me in sports in any way they could. They always provided me with the best as far as possible.
“Since I was a child, I always dreamed of something related to sport. Until I fell in love with Muay Thai, I thought a lot about soccer.”
Falling In Love With Muay Thai
Rodrigues started following in her father’s footsteps with soccer – her country’s most popular sport.
But when she tried her hand at other things, it was clear she had attributes that could help her to be successful in whatever she put her mind to.
And while her first move into combat sports wouldn’t become her lifelong passion, it did ignite the love for competition that featured so heavily later in her life.
“My first contact with martial arts was with capoeira when I was 8 years old. I stood out a lot in capoeira for being able to develop the movements well.
“I really liked that adrenaline of the capoeira circles and the competitions. I graduated four times in capoeira and then I became interested in other sports.”
With good movement and some kicking skills already developed, the young Brazilian followed her sister to a Muay Thai class at 13 – and knew she had discovered her passion.
From there, it didn’t take long to start competing, but though Rodrigues was clearly talented, she knew it would take a major change to forge a future in the sport.
“With only three months of training, I had the opportunity to compete and fell in love with the sport.
“Unfortunately in Brazil, I didn’t have many opportunities to fight, and I couldn’t earn money from fighting. It was then that I decided to move to Thailand.”
Leaving Her Family Behind
At the age of 20 and frustrated by the lack of fights in her homeland, Rodrigues decided to go all-in on her Muay Thai career.
It wasn’t easy to live halfway across the world without her parents and sister, but she knew it was necessary to truly fulfill her potential in “the art of eight limbs.”
The Phuket Fight Club representative said:
“Everything in life requires sacrifice, and the biggest one was having to leave my family. It was very difficult to adapt far from home and in another country with another culture.
“But in a few months, I matured and gained my independence. I believe I became a stronger woman after facing life alone. And today I’m where I am because I’m not afraid to go after what I want.”
Fortunately, Rodrigues’ mother always had her back, helping her from afar throughout tough fight camps and other challenges while living abroad.
That continued when the Brazilian athlete became pregnant after dethroning Stamp Fairtex to become the ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Champion. And this time, Rodrigues’ mom knew she needed to join her daughter in Asia.
The atomweight Muay Thai queen said:
“My mother has supported me since my first fight. Although always with a heavy heart and fear of injury due to it being a contact sport, she never let me give up.
“She currently lives with me in Thailand and helps me with my son, Josué, as my routine as an athlete is very demanding. She didn’t think twice about coming here to be with me.
“Every day, I learn a lot from her to be a good mother to my son and a responsible and loyal person to my family.”
Fighting For Something Bigger
With a supportive team and a loving family around her in Phuket, Rodrigues feels primed and ready to get back to her competitive career.
And while she was always driven to succeed in Muay Thai, she now has a new reason to strive for greatness.
“My son is my greatest wealth, he is my daily strength, and it is for him that I continue to do my best. I always make time for our moments, and it’s all been amazing and challenging at the same time.”
Of course, there are no easy comeback fights when you’re the World Champion, and two-sport superstar Janet Todd will be an extremely difficult test on March 24.
But despite her long layoff, Rodrigues feels confident that she can unify the golden belts and then dominate the division for the foreseeable future.
“Winning the ONE World Title just made me realize how far I can still go. I know that the best is always yet to come, and I am prepared for whatever comes next.
“I really believe in myself and in the work I’ve been doing with my team. Despite the long period of inactivity, you can be sure that I worked a lot and I’m coming back to give the whole division [a hard time].”