‘The New Era Of Muay Thai’ – Jackie Buntan Proud To Represent U.S. At Historic ONE Fight Night 10
Jackie Buntan has a huge opportunity to help Muay Thai explode in North America when she steps into the Circle on Friday, May 5.
The Californian faces Diandra Martin in a strawweight Muay Thai clash on the main card of ONE Fight Night 10: Johnson vs. Moraes III on Prime Video, and it will be a night that goes down in history as the promotion’s first on-ground live event in the USA.
Although the card is packed with local and global stars, Buntan is the only American proponent of “the art of eight limbs” in action at the sold-out 1stBank Center in Denver, Colorado, and she admits that this does come with some pressure to perform.
The Boxing Works athlete explained:
“A hundred percent [there is pressure]. It’s not like the pressure where it’s keeping me up at night and I can’t eat. But yeah, it’s in the back of my head. Of course, I want to perform not only for myself, but I’m the only U.S. athlete representing Muay Thai on this show, here on home soil.”
For that reason, Buntan wants to go all-out to ensure that she can draw new fans to her beloved sport.
The main event bout between Demetrious Johnson and Adriano Moraes for the ONE Flyweight World Title trilogy is the biggest draw given “Mighty Mouse’s” GOAT status and their 1-1 slate, but the 25-year-old strawweight wants to convert some of those seasoned MMA fans to the world’s most devastating striking art.
“I feel like I have to go hard. I have to put on a performance to make the fans and people who don’t know about Muay Thai excited to watch me again, watch Muay Thai again, and tune in to ONE Championship again. All of that is a win for everyone.”
Jackie Buntan Convinced ONE Will Boost Growth Of U.S. Muay Thai
Although combat sports are massive in North America, the landscape is dominated by MMA and boxing.
Muay Thai is still relatively small compared to its sporting siblings, but Jackie Buntan believes that’s only because they haven’t been exposed to ONE’s all-striking format yet.
The former ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Title challenger thinks the massive platform and slick production that the world’s largest martial arts organization brings will prove that Muay Thai belongs on the same level as its counterparts.
“American fans should be extremely excited, and from what I take in, they are extremely excited. This is a huge thing in Muay Thai – an organization of this magnitude, ONE Championship, not just bringing Muay Thai to the big screen, but bringing it to the States with that much ammo.
“Of course, there’s Muay Thai in the states, local shows. When I was an amateur, I competed in empty gyms or little local casinos with crowds of 50 or 100 people. But the only big fights you can see here in the States are all MMA fights. So for fans within the Muay Thai community, this is a big win for us. But fans outside of the community, they really don’t know what they’re in for.”
The Boxing Works athlete thinks that a lot of spectators could be drawn to Muay Thai at ONE’s U.S. debut when they see the intensity and skill that she brings to the Circle, alongside the likes of Rodtang Jitmuangnon and Edgar Tabares, who duke it out for flyweight Muay Thai gold in the co-main event.
That’s why a stunning performance is at the top of her agenda. She wants to tap into the legions of die-hard fight fans in the country and help the sport explode.
“This is something that they haven’t seen before. It’s something new, but yet again, it’s also familiar with it being in a cage, with the 4-ounce gloves on. So there’s a level of relatability and familiarity in there.
“I think being able to put on a solid performance, and an exciting one at that, lets fight fans know this is really the new era of Muay Thai.
“The rule set, the gloves, the cage, three rounds only — it just puts you in a situation where you’ve got to go, making it exciting on both ends.”