The 24-year-old will take on Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke at ONE: BATTLEGROUND III this Friday, 27 August, and a victory over the former ONE Strawweight World Champion would certainly raise his stock on the global stage.
It’s a massive first test, but the phenom from the Tibetan Autonomous Region believes the step up in competition will bring the best out of him.
“I consider ONE Championship the best promotion with all the best athletes — and I am one of them,” Banma says.
“Of course, there’s a little bit of pressure for me. I haven’t fought for almost two years and that makes me a little nervous [before] facing such a high-level opponent, but I haven’t missed a day of training. I’ve been training very hard.
“The other part of the pressure is because it’s my first time joining such a high-level promotion. I think I will turn that pressure into motivation, and I will put on a very good show.”
The Chinese standout has already amassed an avid regional following due to his 13-1 record, exciting fighting style, and fashionista sensibilities, but he knows a strong performance against the Thai veteran would be a game-changer for his career.
Along with being the former ONE strawweight king, the 42-year-old Dejdamrong is a Muay Thai legend who’s earned his stripes in combat sports for many decades.
Still, “The Prince” thinks he can handle anything the Evolve representative throws at him.
“I think his strongest part is his Muay Thai. His knees and elbows are pretty powerful,” Banma says.
“My main strategy is to prevent these attacks and utilize my right-hand strikes. I don’t think it will be a big problem.”
If there’s a reason why Banma is unfazed by his opponent’s striking credentials, it’s because of his own punishing stand-up repertoire. The Chinese athlete owns a stellar 100 percent finishing rate, with 12 of his 13 victories coming via knockout.
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And while he may not have Dejdamrong’s experience, Banma believes he has the edge in just about every other attribute if they duke it out on the feet.
“Compared with him, I think I have a great advantage with my height and reach. I think I am faster than him and have better endurance,” he says.
“And also, although he’s a striker, I think the position of his punches is not so good. That might be another advantage for me.”
The Chinese fighter also sees his rival’s storied past in Muay Thai as another potential route to victory, even though Dejdamrong has been plenty successful since making the switch to mixed martial arts.
“A lot of people say that he’s a Muay Thai-style fighter, but he’s been fighting MMA for a very long time, so he must be very well-rounded,” Banma adds.
“But if I had to say [what] his weaknesses [are], I would say his grappling and his wrestling. It’s not going to be better than mine, so I will find his weakness on the ground.”
The Enbo Gedou representative is ready to enter the Circle with confidence. He believes he has the tools to defeat Dejdamrong wherever the bout takes place, and he is hungry to prove himself.
Moreover, just reaching the world’s largest martial arts organization and meeting an icon is not enough for him. Banma has lofty ambitions, which only begin with Friday’s match against the Thai veteran.
“I came to ONE Championship to show the power of China and show some of my new techniques,” he says.
“After three or four fights, I want to earn the right to compete with the champion. I would like to be the next ONE Strawweight World Champion and bring honor to my country.”