Their three-round Muay Thai war was crowned the 2021 ONE Super Series Fight of the Year – and the Australian rising star wants his second promotional appearance to be just as memorable.
He plans to bring the heat against one of his idols and hopes to leave another lasting impression on viewers around the globe.
“Being in ONE Championship, that’s exactly what I want to do – always bring the excitement, bring the best shots, and get the crowd going,” the 28-year-old says.
“When I compete, I’m also thinking about the audience as well. I want this to be exciting to them. I want them to be on [the edge of] their seats and cheering.
“I want to be inspiring other people like I’ve been inspired by Dejdamrong and Rodtang, and all the fighters I look up to. The ones that bring the damage and bring the excitement. So that’s how I want to fight, always.”
The chance to face a megastar and a legend in back-to-back bouts is not lost on “Mini T.”
But while his gutty performance against Rodtang pushed his career to the next level, the Australian was ultimately defeated via decision.
This time, the former WMC Muay Thai World Champion wants to go one step further and earn a crucial victory at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
“The big thing from that fight [against Rodtang] is knowing that I can hang the best. Let’s keep this passion going. Because if I can hang with Rodtang, I should be able to hang with anyone,” Williams says.
“From that fight, it just made me a lot more confident stepping into the division that I think is right for me, which is the strawweight division.
“Still, for me, a loss is a loss. So now, I’m just so stoked to be able to come back and actually show that I’m going to develop and hopefully put a big dent in the strawweight division.”
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Williams cites Dejdamrong’s successful transition from Muay Thai to MMA as a key influence on his career, so he’s very familiar with the 43-year-old Evolve veteran.
Their matchup is a chance for the Perth native to announce himself as a key player in ONE’s mixed martial arts ranks, and he’s not taking anything for granted.
He knows the Thai veteran owns world-class striking and that he picked up plenty of ground skills during his journey to the top.
“[Dejdamrong is] the first legitimate Muay Thai World Champion that I know of to actually win an MMA World Title in a high-level promotion, so he’s definitely inspiring for me. And to be honest, I hope to follow in his footsteps,” Williams says.
“His kicks [are his most dangerous weapon]. His leg kick and his fast switch kicks. Also, his left hook, and just the way he throws with full power and bad intentions. It’s not like trying to set up something. Everything’s like, ‘bang,’ and it’s quick.
“I’m actually quite impressed with the grappling. He’s got some awesome people at his camp that he trains with. He’s strong. So I am wary of his grappling.”
Despite that admiration, “Mini T” stops short of being overawed by his upcoming foe.
Just like any other bout, he’s been studying potential routes to victory, and he believes there are some gaps in Dejdamrong’s game.
“I do see weaknesses. I kind of know what to expect with him. I haven’t seen him do anything too outrageous in his other fights that makes me worried about this fight, so I just feel like I’m aware of what I’m up against,” Williams says.
“But also, he’s obviously getting on in his career. So I feel like a weakness is maybe that age catches up to him in the body. So if it does go to the later rounds, I feel like I should have an advantage.
“[I think the key is to] pressure him. I look at it like some of his opponents, they’re obviously very scared of his striking, so they stand very far back. But I’m not afraid to meet him in the middle.”
With a chance to earn the biggest victory of his fledgling mixed martial arts career, “Mini T” is once again ready to leave everything he has inside the Circle.
Getting his hand raised against one of his idols would mean everything – especially if he and Dejdamrong stage an unforgettable battle along the way.
“Winning will make me the happiest person,” Williams adds.
“I haven’t fully grasped [how I think the fight is going to go] because, to be honest, I wouldn’t want to have a quick knockout. I want to have a war. I want to just share that Circle where we can both have a wicked fight.
“In a perfect world, I would like to go for a third-round finish. That would be awesome.”
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