That evening, the former ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion will square off against fellow top contender Mongkolpetch Petchyindee, and he knows a victory at the Singapore Indoor Stadium would deliver a powerful statement of intent.
“It’s been a year or so since [beating Taiki Naito], and I’ve matured a lot. The maturity that I’ve gained is just unreal,” the Englishman says.
“And I just feel like I’m stronger, I’m faster, I’m fitter, I’m smarter, and I know how to play the game a bit more now. Instead of just going in for the knockout, I’ve got game plans. And I’ve got visions – visions to be at the top again.”
“The General” has now posted back-to-back wins following his second World Championship defeat to reigning divisional king Rodtang Jitmuangnon. He holds the #2 contender spot in ONE’s flyweight Muay Thai rankings, while Thai star Mongkolpetch has climbed to the #4 position.
But despite his opponent’s impressive resume – which includes 160 bouts and a Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai World Title – Haggerty doesn’t expect to face much trouble in this matchup.
“I’m going to be totally honest. I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot, but I think he’s an easy opponent. I just think that with his style, he isn’t going to be able to deal with what I’m going to bring,” the 24-year-old says.
“I think he’s a slow starter. He’s used to the [Bangkok] stadiums. He can’t change his strategy just for me because, if he does, he is not going to be used to it, and it’s not a very good idea.
“When he [beat] Elias Mahmoudi, Mahmoudi has got the sort of style where he’s not accurate with what he throws, but he throws a lot. And he missed Mongkolpetch a lot of times.
“I won’t be missing Mongkolpetch and giving those shots away. So I think his style suits me.”
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Though he’s confident, “The General” has put in the work to prepare for his opponent’s game plan.
And with that research in mind, he’s optimistic about his chances of navigating past the Petchyindee Academy athlete’s strengths.
“I’ve got to avoid his clinch, his low kick, and his right hand, and I think that’s all he’s really got. He’s got one shot. He doesn’t throw combos. He just throws one shot and hopes,” Haggerty says.
“I think he’s coming to ruin the fight. He’s not going to stand and fight, I think he’s got a strategy to hit and grab.
“He’s a clinch fighter, but he’s quite messy. I don’t think ONE Super Series really allow the clinch to go on too long. As long as he doesn’t get my lower back, then I should be fine, the ref will break it, and I’ll stay on the outside again.”
Even more so than his ability to negate Mongkolpetch’s attacks, “The General” has plenty of faith in his own arsenal – especially given his current run of form.
“Naito was an important fight for me – the comeback fight to see how I was. He wasn’t an easy opponent, but I just made it look easy,” he says of the unanimous decision win.
“That was a good statement to make. Don’t compare other people to me, basically. I go in there, and I put the full stop on the end.”
That’s exactly what Haggerty plans to do when he takes on Mongkolpetch.
The former champ has no doubts about the outcome of their battle, and he’s even predicting a spectacular finish in Singapore.
“The way I go in there to fight, it’s just what I do and that’s how it comes off, like a showman. There’s no game plan to look flamboyant and all that sort of stuff, I just am,” he adds.
“I’m going to be totally honest again. I don’t know if I’m being overconfident, but it’s not a bad thing. I think I’m going to knock him out in the first round. I don’t think he’s going to be able to handle the movement.”