‘Kids Look Up To Me’ – Phetjeeja Says Life Has Changed Ahead Of Prime Video Debut Against Fernandez
While she was already a WMC Muay Thai World Champion, Phetjeeja Lukjaoporongtom has taken her career to new heights with a pair of stunning knockouts at the ONE Friday Fights event series in Bangkok.
Those victories earned the Thai slugger a US$100,000 contract with ONE Championship, and she’ll make her North American primetime debut at ONE Fight Night 12: Superlek vs. Khalilov on Prime Video on Friday, July 14.
That evening, Phetjeeja will face off against former ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Title challenger Lara Fernandez, and she’s thrilled about her chance to compete at such a big event.
“The Queen” is still buzzing from the whirlwind few months she’s enjoyed in the world’s largest martial arts organization – a stretch that has turned her life around.
She told ONEFC.com:
“I was shocked [when I got the contract]. I never thought I could sign a contract with ONE Championship and represent the Thai people to show our national martial art to the world. I want to thank Mr. Chatri [Sityodtong – ONE Chairman and CEO] for offering me the contract.
“I feel like I’m more recognized now. The kids look up to me as their idol. I’m more well-known among international fans. Sometimes when I go out, I often receive greetings from strangers. That makes me feel good.”
With her previous World Title credentials and back-to-back finishes at ONE Friday Fights, Phetjeeja has become widely regarded as a potential future challenger for the gold in her division.
But while the 21-year-old would be thrilled to face reigning queen Allycia Hellen Rodrigues, she’s humble enough to accept that she always needs to keep improving and prove she truly belongs among the elite.
The Thai striker said:
“I need to level myself up to be better and better. I believe that if I train hard enough, I have a chance to be on par with all of the other fighters in the division. But this will definitely be a difficult path for me.
“Of course, my eyes are on the champion. If I can perform well enough in my debut, I want to test my skills with the champ, if possible. Allycia Hellen Rodrigues is so strong and tough. After she came back [from pregnancy], she is much stronger and sharper.
“Whether ONE wants me to take a shot for gold right away or they want me to prove myself for a few more fights, that’s fine for me. I’m more than ready to challenge Allycia Hellen Rodrigues if they give me a shot.”
Phetjeeja: ‘I’m Confident, But I Will Not Be Cocky’
Though there’s been a lot of talk surrounding Phetjeeja’s potential, she’s refusing to get ahead of herself.
For starters, she knows Lara Fernandez is a formidable foe. As a WBC Muay Thai and ISKA Kickboxing World Champion, the Spanish athlete boasts an impressive resume alongside her strong skill set.
Phetjeeja has a lot of respect for “Pizza Power’s” game, but with 226 professional bouts to her rival’s 27 – including 66 finishes – she’s got a lot of ring time to draw upon for their battle in Bangkok.
She said of Fernandez:
“Her style is well-rounded. Her punches, kicks, and clinch are good. She also has good footwork and movement. And she is not shy to take risks. She has a lion’s heart.
“I believe I have more fight experience than her. I have already fought over 200 fights. I may have more skills than her when it comes to clinching. Also, I think my striking is heavier. Let’s see in the ring. “
It’s clear Phetjeeja has the tools and experience to share the ring with anybody, as well as the humility to respect any opponent who stands across from her.
This means “The Queen” will not be reckless in her crucial battle on July 14, but she also plans to use her concussive weapons to get the job done as soon as possible.
The Lukjaoporongtom representative added:
“I’m confident, but I will not be cocky. I will not underestimate the opponent because we both are hungry for the win.
“I just want to fight according to my game plan. I can’t say I will knock her out, but if the chance comes, I will take it, for sure.
“My guess is I will knock her out with my punches because I am confident in my punching power.”