Joseph Lasiri's career resurgence is already one of the greatest stories in ONE Championship history, and the ONE strawweight muay Thai world champion could add an even more stunning chapter on Friday, November 18.
That evening, "The Hurricane" will challenge flyweight muay Thai king Rodtang Jitmuangnon at ONE on Prime Video 4 with a chance to become a rare two-division ONE world champion.
This feat would have seemed impossible when Lasiri lost his first four matches in ONE Championship, but now, it's within touching distance.
And if you ask the Italian-Moroccan striker, his surprising success all comes down to an unbreakable mentality.
"Yes (I lost those fights), but I worked all the time. When you win, OK, the emotion is bigger because the people around you are happier, but when I lose, I can look at myself in the mirror without a problem.
"It is not about winning or losing, it's to challenge myself. Now I come back to fight the top fighter in the flyweight division. I'm ready to challenge myself another time, like I did before. I hope to get the win to show other people what one man can do."
Lasirii's determination resulted in two impressive wins and a shot at then-ONE strawweight muay Thai world champion Prajanchai PK.Saenchai this past May.
The 25-year-old entered that matchup as a massive underdog, but he shocked the Thai star and claimed the belt with a TKO finish. However, the upset victory didn't change how he viewed himself.
Instead, "The Hurricane" was satisfied by putting in hard work and evolving throughout training camp.
It's a mindset he's also bringing into this clash with Rodtang, and if he wins another strap, he'll largely consider it a thank-you to those who've helped him along the way.
"I was very happy to bring the title home, especially for the people who work for me. So my trainer, my family, my manager, all my team, my partners in sparring who took the time for me, the gold is for them.
"When I face off with Rodtang, I will be proud of myself, for sure. And what I'm really looking forward to is going there to do my job and making it an opportunity to be an inspiration for my team, my family, and the people around me."
Lasiri: 'The gameplan is to make Rodtang angry'
After coming this far, Lasiri isn't fazed by the prospect of moving up in weight to challenge Rodtang – a man who's looked unstoppable in ONE while compiling a perfect 11-0 record in kickboxing and muay Thai.
And while most competitors would never want to see "The Iron Man" tearing toward them at full throttle, Lasiri believes it could actually be his best route to victory.
"The Hurricane" said:
"What is more comfortable? Fighting Rodtang (when he is moving) forward or fighting Rodtang technically? To me, I think it's more comfortable to fight Rodtang if (he is going) forward. So, the gameplan is to make Rodtang angry, and then he will come to me.
"I don't want to stay in front of him too much. Don't go toe-to-toe every time. The work will be hard. But I can accept that feeling in many different ways."
Lasiri already shocked fans by forcing Prajanchai to quit on his stool in their ONE strawweight muay Thai world title fight, and that would be his ideal scenario against Rodtang.
Although it's a big ask, "The Hurricane" is envisioning the same conclusion to his ONE flyweight muay Thai world title challenge – and hoping it comes to fruition inside the Circle.
"My beautiful dream is when I fight Rodtang, it will be like Prajanchai. He goes back in the corner and he doesn't come back to do the next round. This is my best dream, and I have seen it many times. That will be the best win for me."
This story first published at ONEFC.com.