But there is another man in the Filipino rising star’s sights – ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon.
The Thai megastar has been unstoppable in ONE Super Series, racking up a flawless 10-0 record across Muay Thai and kickboxing.
That unprecedented success doesn’t faze Adiwang, though. In fact, “Thunder Kid” is ready is switch sports, face the Jitmuangnon Gym standout, and beat him at his own game.
“I want to call Rodtang out,” he says.
“I’m really willing to fight him, 1,000 percent. I’ll cross over to ONE Super Series if they give me Rodtang. I know I’ll come in as a heavy underdog, but I believe I have the tools to beat Rodtang ‘cause I’ve been seeing holes in his game,” the Filipino says.
“I’ve seen the clamor of our fans to see this fight, but it’s not just them. It’s me. I really want this fight and I really believe that when we face each other, we can bring out an exciting match. I’ll be at my best because I know I can do it once I face Rodtang.”
Since making his promotional debut in September 2018, Rodtang has demolished the competition with powerful punches, devastating low kicks, and extraordinary fight IQ.
The Jitmuangnon Gym product used those attributes to claim the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship, remain undefeated in ONE, and become the first person to win 10 bouts in the organization’s all-striking league.
But while Adiwang has always admired the Thai superstar, he spotted some opportunities while watching Rodtang’s catchweight Muay Thai showdown with “Mini T” Danial Williams at “ONE on TNT I” in April.
Because of that, the Team Lakay representative believes he can expose “The Iron Man.”
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“I really believe I got something in the bag, I have the key [to] beating Rodtang. I see some holes in his game,” the 28-year-old Filipino says.
“I’ll give one example – in his last fight against ‘Mini-T,’ it showed his weakness. [Williams] wasn’t really engaging him in a phone-booth battle – he was patient, and he was countering with his strikes. In that fight, we didn’t see the ‘go-for-broke’ Rodtang [we normally see], and that’s because of ‘Mini-T’s’ style.
“We all know Rodtang is an elite striker – he has strong and fast kicks, and he’s very technical. But ‘Mini-T’ hung in there because he countered using his punches. The same can be said against his Brazilian opponent [Walter Goncalves], who was also patient against Rodtang.
“I think the key is to not be pulled into Rodtang’s game. He’s a master in getting in his opponents’ heads, he’s won a lot of fights already because of that. Give him different looks, different combinations from the usual Muay Thai combinations, and I believe he’ll struggle.”
Aside from being an elite striker, Rodtang’s intelligence is off the charts. He’s been able to quickly identify problems during his fights, make the necessary adjustments, and improvise in the heat of the moment.
But Adiwang’s striking can pose problems for any opponent. After all, “Thunder Kid” possesses refined technique and devastating one-punch power, which was masterfully displayed in his most recent knockout victory over Japan’s Namiki Kawahara.
Moreover, the wushu-based fighter is already comfortable in the 4-ounce mixed martial arts gloves. So if he switches codes and challenges Rodtang in a ONE Super Series Muay Thai clash, he believes he can hand the reigning World Champion his first loss on the global stage – as long as he sticks to his game plan.
“I’ve visualized this a hundred times in my mind, he’s just human,” the Filipino says.
“He’s one heck of an athlete, but he’s human. If I can do my part, I can pull the trigger and make the impossible happen.”
Despite Adiwang’s desire to challenge Rodtang in a Muay Thai contest, he would also be happy to face him under the global mixed martial arts rule set.
The flyweight Muay Thai king has long expressed his desire to compete in mixed martial arts, and he doubled down on those comments a few days ago.
Should Rodtang make the jump, “Thunder Kid” would love to be his first opponent in the all-encompassing sport.
“If this happens here, that’s very favorable for me,” Adiwang adds.
“Whenever he comes to MMA, I’m willing to welcome him in his debut in mixed martial arts. Hopefully, this fight happens.”