The Serbian superstar will lock horns with Saemapetch Fairtex in a ONE Super Series bantamweight Muay Thai bout on Friday, 12 April, knowing a win could catapult him toward a World Title shot.
His Thai opponent has been on fire in ONE Championship, so Topic has made sure he will be on top form when he steps into the cage at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
To do that, Topic left his home in New Jersey, USA and traveled to Bangkok, Thailand to train with the elite competitors at P.K.Saenchaimuaythaigym – home to ONE Super Series stars Kongsak and Muangthai.
He flew out in September and spent the next four months sharpening his tools there.
After a month back home, the 33-year-old went straight back to Thailand, and that is where he will stay until it is time to compete.
“It’s been great,” Topic says. “Obviously, there’s already an improvement, but it’s not even the improvement, it’s just being around other high-level fighters.
“They have a different way of thinking, a different mentality. The timing and the speed are completely different.”
Topic says he did not return to Thailand to try and re-invent himself. There was no need for that because he is regarded as one of the world’s top Muay Thai competitors thanks to his Lion Fight World Title and his spot on the roster in The Home Of Martial Arts.
Instead, he sees his trip to the birthplace of the art of eight limbs as an opportunity to tighten his game.
To do that, he has spent countless hours working with the coaches at P.K.Saenchaimuaythaigym, and even longer going to battle in sparring with training partners who forced him to sharpen up.
“They are the highest level fighters, and they are the only guys I want to compete against,” Topic explains.
His return to Thailand could not have come at a better time with a showdown against Saemapetch on the horizon.
Topic has faced some of his rival’s teammates in the past, and he believes he has their style figured out.
“I feel like they all fight the same way and it comes down from Yodsanklai [IWE Fairtex],” Topic says.
“It’s a very simple style, but it’s also very effective. It’s just all about power. I mean, if you look at Yodsanklai, that’s the style.
“Everything comes from the left side – nothing too crazy or fancy. It’s a style that I like. I feel like the simpler, the better because simplicity is always going to be in favor. That’s pretty much what I think about it.”
As soon as he signed up to meet Saemapetch, Topic and his coaches started to work on a game plan that could secure a signature victory.
Combined with a teammate’s first-hand knowledge of how to defeat the 24-year-old from Pattaya, Topic believes he has the blueprint for a famous win.
“One of the guys from the gym fought him three times, and he beat him, and all of the coaches and fighters know Saemapetch Fairtex,” Topic says.
“They’ve already given me tips and hints about how to fight against him. We’ll definitely have a plan when we meet him.”
With the changes he has made in camp, Topic is excited to show off some new tricks and send notice to the ONE Super Series bantamweight division as he chases his the biggest prize in martial arts.
“People will definitely see some differences in my style since I fought last time for ONE Championship,” he adds.
“I feel like every fight that I have for ONE Championship is very important because the ultimate goal is to fight for that World Title.”
Manila | 12 April | 7:00PM | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onehonor19