ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon knows there are several Muay Thai competitors – and a mixed martial arts phenom – who are eager to challenge him inside the Circle.
The latest athlete to join that growing list is Mongkolpetch Petchyindee Academy, who likely cracked ONE’s Athlete Rankings after narrowly defeating #4-ranked flyweight Muay Thai contender Elias “The Sniper” Mahmoudi.
Talk of a potential World Title challenge from Mongkolpetch has picked up steam in recent weeks, but for now, Rodtang is pumping the brakes on a meeting with his compatriot.
“After he won [his last] fight, Mongkolpetch said he would like to challenge me,” the flyweight king said.
“I am happy to fight with everyone, but I want him to build his performance and reputation to impress the fans more.”
Rodtang’s logic stems from Mongkolpetch’s main event showdown with Mahmoudi at ONE: FULL BLAST II, which aired on 11 June.
It was a gritty three-round battle, but the Petchyindee Academy man did just enough to maintain his spotless record in ONE Super Series.
Mongkolpetch attacked the tall French-Algerian’s lead leg with low kicks and connected with elbows to the head in the opening frame, but Mahmoudi briefly stunned him with a brilliant counter left hook.
Everything completely changed late in the second round, however, as the Thai veteran dropped “The Sniper” with a right cross for the only knockdown of the contest.
While Mahmoudi came forward aggressively with his strikes in search of a finish during the third and final stanza, Mongkolpetch frequently clinched to neutralize the French-Algerian.
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Though Mongkolpetch slowed down and didn’t hunt for the knockout in the final round, his handiwork in the first two frames was enough to earn him the majority decision victory. In the process, he pushed his ONE Super Series record to 4-0.
Rodtang believes the Petchyindee Academy star deserved the win, but he also feels like his compatriot stepped off the gas and nearly let the bout slip away.
“I watched this fight and I think he performed well. He also took many hits, but fortunately, he scored points from the knockdown. Otherwise, he might have lost the fight,” Rodtang said.
“If he didn’t knock Mahmoudi down in round two, he [might have lost] round two and I think he would have lost round three, too.
“Round three is also important. We must give it our all, even if we advance in the score. We have to fight smart. [We have to always] go for it, not just hug.”
Because of that, “The Iron Man” would like to see Mongkolpetch compete against another top-ranked contender before granting him a ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship opportunity.
“I want him to fight someone like [Jonathan] Haggerty, or someone who is at the same level as him,” Rodtang said.
“[He needs to] build his reputation with a few more fights. If he can win over the #2-ranked guy like Haggerty, then I am ready to fight with him in a World Title match.
“If not Haggerty, maybe Panpayak [Jitmuangnon] is okay, too, or the one [Mahmoudi] he just fought. I am sure this guy would be willing to do a rematch.”
Mongkolpetch does not agree with Rodtang’s take.
The Petchyindee Academy standout believes he’s already done enough to warrant a crack at the flyweight king’s crown and was offended when he heard his compatriot’s suggestion.
“When I became a star, you were just dust in the countryside,” the Thai veteran responded.
Mongkolpetch and Rodtang have never met inside the ring, but this budding rivalry is certainly one that’s worth watching.