Come Sunday, 13 October, Rodtang will aim to defend his belt for the first time as part of the biggest event in martial arts history at ONE: CENTURY PART II.
The 22-year-old from Bangkok will also look to maintain his perfect record as a ONE Super Series athlete when he faces three-time Muay Thai World Champion, Walter Goncalves.
In August, Rodtang clinched the gold from Jonathan “The General” Haggerty in one of the most epic battles ever seen in The Home Of Martial Arts.
Only 10 weeks will have passed when he gets back into the Circle to face his new opponent from Brazil, but the defending World Champion cannot wait to get back into action and stamp his authority on the division.
“I am really excited to defend my World Title for the first time, especially on such an important card,” he says.
“I’m really excited to return to Japan as well. I have a lot of fans there, and it will be great to perform for them again. Japan really embraces martial arts, so it is always a lot of fun to fight there.”
Another element of his next assignment that has got Rodtang fired up is his opponent.
The Brazilian quickly earned a reputation as an exciting and aggressive competitor in Thailand, and was on his way to becoming a household name in the home of “the art of eight limbs” when he got the call from ONE Championship.
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“I like to fight people with a similar style to me – people willing to trade. It is a lot of fun,” says Rodtang.
The 21-year-old from Fortaleza is sure to give Rodtang a formidable test.
The young Brazilian, like his upcoming opponent, has trained since he was a child. He has also honed his skills extensively in Thailand, where he has also proved himself amongst some of the most talented practitioners of the sport.
However, although his record is an impressive 65-5, Rodtang is an incredible 257-41-10, and feels that will give him the edge when he meets him head-on in Tokyo.
“I think my experience will be too much for him, and that my overall conditioning will be better than his,” he says.
“I’m ready to trade with him, but I am not going to underestimate him either. He’s an accomplished fighter.”
“I won’t change my style, that is what people love about me.”
Rodtang had dreamed of winning the greatest prize in martial arts since he debuted on the global stage last year, and now that he owns it, he does not want to give it up.
Because the Phatthalung native does not want to play it safe when he competes, he has redoubled his efforts in the gym to make sure he does not let the belt slip through his fingers as he attempts to thrill the fans once again with another trademark performance.
“It is easier to win a World Title than it is to defend it. I’ll need to train even harder,” he adds.
“I have to win – I have to keep this World Title. The Muay Thai World Title must stay with a Thai. I intend to win and keep this belt with me for a long time.”
ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history with 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts. No organization has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events on the same day.
The Home Of Martial Arts will break new ground as it brings multiple World Title bouts, a trio of World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches to the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.