ONE Championship crowd shot
ONE Championship held a live event at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in the Philippines. ONE Championship


  • ONE Championship has placed a premium on developing Muay Thai and kickboxing
  • Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn are fully backing ONE Championship's push
  • ONE Fight Night 10 will feature MMA, Muay Thai and grappling bouts

ONE Championship's commitment to hosting a wide variety of combat sports to fans under a single organization has made them one of the top promotions in the world.

Alongside mixed martial arts (MMA), the Singapore-based outfit has since added kickboxing, Muay Thai and submission grappling to its list of offerings.

Renowned MMA trainer Mike Winkeljohn was quick to point out what really makes ONE Championship stand out.

Speaking with International Business Times sports editor and combat sports analyst Nissi Icasiano, the co-founder of Jackson Wink MMA Academy was happy to explain why ONE Super Series, particularly their Muay Thai division, is such a joy to watch.

"I like it because the defense is totally different. We're talking about little gloves that go through small holes [in the opponent's defense] as elbows do. You can use those same holes that you always have to find the elbows with. That kinda changes the defense that the fighters have to work with," Winkeljohn told Icasiano.

"Speed's going to be increased. I think the fight's gonna be that much more exciting because of all the above. No one likes to see a lot of damage, but damage can happen so it makes the fight scarier, quicker stoppages [happen more], more exciting for the fans and I'm excited about it. I love the small gloves because I think it's more and more applicable worldwide and [brings fighters] even closer to MMA."

ONE Championship's upper management was certainly wise to integrate Muay Thai and kickboxing into the menu as it brought a lot more eyes to the product.

Instituted in 2018, their fans have since seen the likes of legendary names such as Giorgio Petrosyan, Nieky Holzkien, Superbon Singha Mawynn, Nong-O Gaiyanghadao and John Wayne Parr grace the events.

Giorgio Petrosyan
Number one ranked featherweight kickboxer Giorgio Petrosyan will be fighting for the inaugural ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Championship at ONE: First Strike. ONE Championship

ONE Championship also made a push to cultivate talent for the future thanks to the creation of ONE Lumpinee in September, where young Muay Thai fighters can ply their craft in front of a worldwide audience.

On the topic of innovating, the Singapore-based combat sports organization held the first-ever hybrid rules MMA–Muay Thai bout between Demetrious Johnson and Rodtang Jitmuangnon in March 2022.

Greg Jackson, Winkeljohn's longtime business partner, was highly complimentary of ONE Championship's decision to even take a risk in doing such a thing.

"In today's culture, you constantly need new things to bring people in. They've got slap-fighting and everything going on now. Bareknuckle boxing is [also a thing]. So if you're gonna do something that needs to bring new people in, I think that's the best model because it's still MMA-ish, but you have this modified rule set," Jackson mentioned.

"It's bringing new people in, but it's also kind of staying true to the roots. I like that about it. I think that's a good thing."

Winkeljohn quickly agreed with Jackson's statements, noting that Muay Thai and kickboxing fighters get a chance to witness MMA fights on the same cards that they are competing in, allowing them to potentially consider giving the sport a chance.

Reinier de Ridder Andre Galvao
Reinier de Ridder and Andre Galvao battling for position on the ground during their ONE X bout. ONE Championship

"They're training on the side, the 'other rules', the other styles that they're not experts in and down the road, then they can compete in MMA across the board," he explained.

With ONE Championship making its maiden debut in the United States on May 5 with ONE Fight Night 10, fans will witness a healthy mix of ONE Championship's different combat sports disciplines.

The main event is set to feature Demetrious Johnson and Adriano Moraes' trilogy clash over the ONE flyweight title, Rodtang's defense of the ONE flyweight Muay Thai title against Edgar Tabares, and Osamah Almarwai challenging Mikey Musumeci for the ONE flyweight submission grappling championship.

Middleweight king Reinier de Ridder faces Kade Ruotolo in a grappling-only bout, while Filipino-American Jackie Buntan takes on Diandra Martin in a strawweight Muay Thai matchup.

ONE Fight Night 10 in Denver, Colorado will have a start time of 6:00 PM (local time) on May 5.

Greg Jackson, Mike Winkeljohn
Greg Jackson (left) and Mike Winkeljohn (right) celebrate the victory of John Jones against Lyoto Machida at UFC 140 on December 10, 2011. Getty