“Mini T” Danial Williams has been given the opportunity of a lifetime, and he doesn’t plan to squander it.
The Australian will strap on 4-ounce mixed martial arts gloves and square off against ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon at “ONE on TNT I,” which broadcasts live in U.S. prime time on Wednesday, 7 April.
Not only will this be Williams’ promotional debut, but he’ll be fighting a seemingly indestructible World Champion who’s become the biggest star in Muay Thai.
“It’s absolutely huge, but I guess it just hasn’t hit me yet,” the 27-year-old Perth native says of this 61.5-kilogram catch weight encounter.
“I’m just going to keep my head down and focus on my training. I’m not going to buy into the whole thing and get overwhelmed about how crazy big [this fight] is. I’m just focusing on Rodtang. It’s just going to be me and him in the cage at the end of the day, anyway. He’s only human.”
Rodtang’s past adversaries may not agree. After all, “The Iron Man” has been unstoppable since stepping onto the global stage back in September 2018.
The Jitmuangnon Gym representative has decimated all eights of his previous opponents (including former flyweight king Jonathan Haggerty twice), captured the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title, and is currently aiming for a second belt in kickboxing.
Along the way, Rodtang has charmed the global fan base with his aggressive in-ring style, immense knockout power, granite chin, and never-back-down attitude. He even entertains with his dance moves – both when entering the arena and while taunting his rivals during bouts.
Williams may not do the ”Harlem Shake” like Rodtang, but he does share some common traits.
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For instance, the Aussie loves throwing low kicks, body shots, and massive overhand rights. But he will also switch things up and unleash some wild strikes, including his jumping downward tomahawk elbow.
“I can be a bit wild with the chin up, but I think being a bit jumpy and having different footwork brings a different game. I see a similar style [between us], but it’s a little bit different,” Williams says.
“I’ll want to fight in his face, but not be too crazy, and when we exchange, pick his gaps as well. So when he swings wildly, I’ll swing wildly back at him, but be a bit more careful.
“[Also, I’ll be] using fakes and a little more footwork because I don’t like fighting Thais the same way they fight, so I’m going to make a few tweaks and be a bit more unpredictable with my shots.”
Williams is well-aware that Rodtang has a habit of demoralizing opponents with his relentless pressure.
But the Aussie, who is fine-tuning his skills and strategy at Kao Sok Muay Thai in Perth, refuses to be overwhelmed by his foe’s World Champion pedigree or the magnitude of this event.
That’s because Williams has experience competing – and succeeding – at the elite level of his sport, as he claimed a WMC Muay Thai World Title in a five-round battle.
Given that victory, his endurance, and his high-level skills, the underdog believes he can do what nobody else has done: defeat “The Iron Man.”
“I would like this [bout to end] with a knockout. It would be awesome to evade one of his shots and give one back and stop him. Of course, that would be the ultimate, ultimate thing,” Williams says.
“That’s something I’ve envisioned every day. That would be a cool outcome, but I don’t want to sound too cocky because I respect him a lot, and until we touch gloves, I won’t actually be able to feel his power. But I’m not scared. That’s the big thing. I’m not scared at all.”