Phoe “Bushido” Thaw expects to shock his countrymen when he steps back into the cage on Friday, 8 March.
He is scheduled to face Indonesia’s Yohan “The Ice Man” Mulia Legowo in a featherweight mixed martial arts bout at ONE: REIGN OF VALOR, which broadcasts live from the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in his native Yangon, Myanmar.
The 34-year-old striker — who has five first-round knockouts — is finishing up his most transformative training camp yet, and he feels extra motivated to deliver another explosive performance.
“Fans are going to be really surprised to see me and my fight because I am completely different,” he says. “I have trained harder than before because I am coming off the first loss of my career.”
Phoe Thaw was a perfect 6-0 in his mixed martial arts career before he collided with Malaysia’s Keanu Subba, who ruined his spotless record with a guillotine choke submission at ONE: PURSUIT OF GREATNESS last October.
Although it was a setback on his path to the ONE Featherweight World Title, the defeat triggered the lethwei and karate specialist to bring in a submission guru to help tighten up his all-around game.
The Myanmar superstar called in the services of Japanese grappler Shunichi “Rolling Star” Shimizu, who has 19 career victories by way of submission. They worked together extensively for two months at his gym, Team PT, and that has given “Bushido” a newfound confidence on the ground.
After Shimizu returned to Japan, Phoe Thaw went to Tiger Muay Thai & MMA in Phuket, Thailand, where he is currently sharpening his wrestling and his striking even more.
That will be particularly helpful when he faces Legowo, an Indonesian national kickboxing and submission grappling champion.
While Phoe Thaw quickly admits his opponent is an experienced athlete with a dangerous ground game, he also sees a few vulnerabilities — especially in the striking department.
“Bushido” has gone to great lengths to improve his grappling, but he ultimately intends to deliver a familiar result.
“He has a lot of weak points,” the Yangon native says. “I will focus on my stand-up to knock him out.”
Phoe Thaw will need to be completely focused on the task at hand, which may be hard to do considering he is the most popular homegrown star on the bill.
Phoe Thaw's motto? Strike fast & strike HARD ????Yangon | 26 October | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onegreatness18
Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, October 15, 2018
That marks the first time “The Burmese Python” will miss a show in his native Yangon.
Although the Myanmar sports icon will be absent from the event, Phoe Thaw is ready to fill his mentor’s big shoes and make his country proud with a memorable performance at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium.
“I don’t feel any pressure from that,” he adds. “I always give my best to my audience and to my opponent. I expect this fight to be one of the best of the night.”