• ONE Championship will host its first-ever world Muay Thai Grand Prix in May
  • Rodtang Jitmuangnon is among the eight participants
  • Savvas Michael and Jonathan Haggerty will also compete in the tourney

For the first time since ONE Championship held its first World Grand Prix in 2012, the celebrated striking discipline of Muay Thai will be the main highlight of the prestigious eight-man tournament.

It was announced by none other than company head honcho Chatri Sityodtong himself last Saturday, April 16 on Facebook that the quarterfinal round of the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Grand Prix is set to kick off at a yet-to-be-named event on May 20.

“Muay Thai has been my greatest love for more than 35+ years as a student, a competitor, a teacher, a coach, a promoter, and now a CEO. It is truly the honor of my life to lead the sport of Muay Thai around the world and help to grow it for our beloved community everywhere,” the last part of Chatri’s post read.

Among the eight participants slated to compete in the tourney is Rodtang Jitmuangnon, the reigning ONE flyweight Muay Thai champion who looks to redeem himself in the eyes of his fans and claim the silver-plated World Grand Prix belt at the same time.

Most recently, Rodtang took part in a hybrid mixed martial arts (MMA)-Muay Thai showdown against Demetrious Johnson on the historic ONE X card this past March—with the former UFC flyweight titleholder rendering the Thai hard-hitter unconscious in the second round with a rear-naked choke.

Rodtang Jitmuangnon Demetrious Johnson
Rodtang Jitmuangnon and Demetrious Johnson gave each other a hug after their thrilling ONE X bout. ONE Championship

The upcoming ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Grand Prix will work a little differently due to Rodtang’s participation as it has been confirmed that his world title will not be on the line.

In the opening phase of the step-ladder competition, Rodtang is penciled to lock horns with British debutant Jacob Smith, who signed with the Singapore-based promotion in 2020.

Smith was supposed to make his maiden appearance inside the Circle versus Thai striker Superlek Kiatmoo9 in March 2020, but the bout got canceled due to the surging COVID-19 cases during the onset of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Smith had to withdraw from his three-round clash opposite Rodtang at ONE on TNT 1 in April 2021 due to an undisclosed reason.

Joining Rodtang and Smith is ex-champion Jonathan Haggerty of England, who will go head-to-head with Brazil’s Walter Goncalves.

Jonathan Haggerty
Former ONE Flyweight Muay Thai champion Jonathan Haggerty warms up for a fight inside the cage. ONE Championship

On the other hand, Superlek is booked to square off against highly-touted kickboxer Taiki Naito of Japan.

To complete the cast, Cypriot fighter Savvas Michael will test the mettle of promotional newcomer Amir Naseri.

ONE Championship has crowned four World Grand Prix champions in MMA and two winners in kickboxing.

Masakatsu Ueda triumphed in the finals of the ONE Bantamweight World Grand Prix by defeating Team Lakay’s Kevin Belingon in May 2013.

Johnson outlasted Belingon’s teammate Danny Kingad to be the last man standing in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix in October 2019, while earlier on the same card, Christian Lee outpointed Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev to win the lightweight tourney.

Stamp Fairtex made history in December 2021 as she submitted Ritu Phogat with a second-round armbar to come out on top of the ONE Women Atomweight World Grand Prix.

The 2019 ONE Kickboxing World Grand Prix saw Giorgio Petrosyan take home a $1 million prize money by beating Frenchman Samy Sana in the finals.

Last March at ONE X, Belarusian featherweight kickboxer Chingiz Allazov captured the World Grand Prix title by defeating Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong via unanimous decision.