When Phoe “Bushido” Thaw gets the chance to step back into the Circle, redemption will be his biggest motivation.
The 35-year-old superstar is currently doing his best to improve despite COVID-19 restrictions in his native Yangon, Myanmar.
Phoe Thaw feels well-rested and is constantly refining his overall mixed martial arts game, and he believes those factors will pay dividends when he makes his inevitable return to action later this year.
“Since the outbreak, I have practiced social distancing and limited myself going out. I have exercised regularly indoors, I eat to get sufficient nourishment, and I have slept well,” he says.
“I want to give a better performance than I did in my previous match, so I studied my fighting techniques and trained my fitness continuously. I hope to compete again as soon as possible.”
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Losing has been a rare occurrence in the featherweight’s career, but it is the one thing that has kept him driven in the forced downtime from competition.
“Bushido” has beaten eight of his 10 opponents to date, with seven of those wins by way of knockout. However, he would love the chance to avenge his losses at the hands of Keanu Subba and “The Big Heart” Yoon Chang Min.
“I want to rematch the opponents who defeated me,” he asserts.
“I was defeated, but I didn’t fully execute what I’m capable of. I want to know it decisively. Moreover, I want to defeat them.
“The fans would see me as a different fighter who they have never seen before. I have totally changed. They would see the thrilling matches of Phoe Thaw again.”
Phoe Thaw believes he has a route to victory on the feet over his old rivals. In fact, his 88-percent knockout rate speaks for itself. But in mixed martial arts, half of the battle is staying there – especially against elite opposition.
The Yangon hero lost by guillotine choke to Subba in October 2018 and rear-naked choke to Yoon in October 2019. However, instead of being dragged down by those outcomes, “Bushido” has used them to build himself back up.
He took note of his need to focus more heavily on his grappling so that his striking repertoire can be more effective if they cross paths again.
“The losses forced me to do more intense training, and to focus on the physical, technical, and mental aspects,” he says.
“Firstly, I need to be better at takedown defense and positional control. To perform better in a match, I need to be well-prepared in those skills. That way, if I do compete with [Subba and Yoon again], my striking will be advantageous for me.”
The Myanmar superstar knows the featherweight division is stacked with talent, and he will not hesitate to face off against any potential opponent.
However, in the back of Phoe Thaw’s mind, the chance to settle those scores has kept him hungrier than ever.
“I have a message for [Subba and Yoon],” he offers. “Their old tricks won’t work on me again. Their fighting skills may have gotten better, but so have mine.”