Since joining ONE Championship, Anissa Meksen has been determined to challenge for the ONE atomweight kickboxing world title, but she’ll make a short detour from that quest to compete under a different set of striking rules on Friday, April 22.
The 33-year-old superstar will battle Marie "Snow Leopard" Ruumet in an atomweight muay Thai clash on the lead card of "ONE: Eersel vs. Sadikovic."
While it’s not the ultimate matchup she craves, the French-Algerian athlete is ecstatic to showcase her skills at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
"I'm just happy to fight," Meksen said. "Whoever the opponent is, I don’t care. I just want to fight. I’m happy to fight (under muay Thai rules) because of the small gloves. It's very good for me."
It may not be very good for her opponent, though.
Meksen doesn't have many losses in her storied combat sports career. Considered the top pound-for-pound female striker in the world, she's compiled a 101-5 record and owns seven kickboxing and muay Thai world titles.
She also has 33 knockout wins on her resume, which she accomplished while donning standard boxing gloves. Now, fans will witness the results of her training in the smaller MMA-style mitts.
Ruumet, however, lives for fights like these.
The 22-year-old Estonian last competed at "ONE: No Surrender III" in Bangkok, Thailand, where she scored a dominant unanimous decision victory over Little Tiger.
Throughout that bout, "Snow Leopard" decimated her Japanese adversary with knees and powerful elbows – a weapon that Meksen admits she’ll "have to watch out for."
While the young phenom will bring potent skills and a stellar 31-9 striking record into their battle, "C18" believes her own veteran savvy will be the deciding factor.
"(Ruumet) doesn’t have a lot of experience, and she's never fought a girl like me," Meksen said. "I'm experienced, a world champion. My striking is simply better than hers. I have good skills, good punches, good kicks. And yes, I'm confident."
It's been four years since Meksen last competed under muay Thai rules, but fans shouldn't expect any rust.
The Phuket Fight Club representative made her ONE Championship debut in September and tasted glory with a dominant second-round KO of Cristina Morales in their kickboxing contest at "ONE: Empower."
She's planning to stay aggressive in her switch to "the art of eight limbs" – and she's adjusted her training accordingly.
"I've been working on my clinch a lot," said Meksen. "I've been working on my elbows. So no, I don't care that this fight is under muay Thai rules. I'm not worried about that.
"My goal is to finish the fight in the first round. When I see her open up, I will touch her."
Meksen eyes ONE atomweight kickboxing world title fight with Todd
Meksen get past Ruumet at "ONE: Eersel vs. Sadikovic," she has only one fight in mind – a showdown with kickboxing ace Janet Todd.
The French-Algerian said of the reigning ONE atomweight kickboxing world champion:
"Since I signed with ONE Championship, my goal has been clear. I want to take the belt in kickboxing, so I want to face Janet Todd. I want this fight as soon as possible."
Meksen also called out "JT" last year, even claiming that the American was offered the fight but turned it down.
For her part, Todd denied those statements and insisted she’d be more than willing to defend her belt against the kickboxing great.
"C18," however, is growing impatient.
"She wants to face me, but she doesn’t respond when I speak about her," Meksen said. "She wants to face me; I want to face her. So let’s make this fight as soon as possible."
This story first published at ONEFC.com.