Former ONE World Champion Jonathan Haggerty is thrilled to have a spot in the most stacked tournament in Muay Thai history, but he’s not in it for a participation trophy.
The surging Englishman is ready to blast his way through the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Grand Prix, starting with Walter Goncalves in the quarterfinals at ONE 157: Petchmorakot vs. Vienot this Friday, 20 May.
Haggerty – the #1-ranked flyweight Muay Thai contender – finds himself on a three-fight winning streak and is hungrier than ever to climb to the top of the division again, and he sees the Grand Prix as his route to that goal.
“I was excited [when I heard about the tournament]. I was motivated more than ever. I got straight to training, and I’m ready to put on a statement.
“I’m on a roll now, and I’m ready to take on anyone they put in front of me. And I’m here to win this tournament. I’m not here to make up the numbers.”
Despite his confidence, Haggerty knows that the field is extremely tough, but that will just make the spoils of victory even sweeter.
The Londoner’s old foe, reigning ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon, may be the favorite, but every potential opponent brings their own threat. In fact, “The General” could also see an impressive run from his countryman Jacob Smith.
“I think the dark horse is probably Taiki Naito. He looks like he’s been training hard. After I beat him, I reckon he wants to come back stronger. And the strongest fighters here are probably Superlek [Kiatmoo9] and Rodtang like everyone expects, and obviously myself. I’m excited.
“Jacob Smith is strong. He’s quite big built. A Jacob Smith and Jonathan Haggerty final would be massive for UK fans – not just for the UK fans, but for everyone else. And hopefully, we could do it in the UK!”
Jonathan Haggerty Planning For A Knockout Start In Grand Prix
Before anything else, Jonathan Haggerty has to get past Walter Goncalves – the battle-hardened Brazilian who pushed Rodtang Jitmuangnon to his limits in October 2019.
Goncalves has both technique and power, but “The General” feels well prepared for what he brings to the Circle. The British striker believes he’ll have to hunt down the 23-year-old, but he has no problem with that approach.
“He is orthodox and goes to southpaw a lot. I work well against southpaws. I beat one of the best southpaws in the world in Sam-A [Gaiyanghadao]. He moves about a lot. I think he’s going to move on to one of my shots. I’m excited for this one. I’m going to have to chase this fight, and I’m going to chase it well.”
After dropping the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title to Rodtang in August 2019 and suffering a hard loss in their rematch five months later, Haggerty bounced back in epic fashion.
Now ranked as the top contender in the division following back-to-back ONE Super Series wins over Mongkolpetch Petchyindee and Taiki Naito, “The General” is in a great place both mentally and physically.
The 25-year-old Englishman plans to build on this platform to defeat Goncalves and race toward the Grand Prix’s silver belt, and then back to World Title gold.
“This win will be the start of something special to kick-start me off and really put me into title contention and Grand Prix contention.
“My mind is strong, my body is strong, my confidence [is high] coming off of three great wins. And I don’t know if he’ll be able to stop me in this tournament. I will knock him out. My prediction is probably in round two, I’ll overwhelm him.”