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ONE champ Janet Todd enjoys having targets on her back: 'It's a compliment'

The atomweight kickboxing queen will face even more threats if she wins interim muay Thai gold on July 22.
janet-todd

ONE atomweight kickboxing world champion Janet Todd is already a wanted woman, and she could become an even bigger target in the near future.

The American star will face Spanish debutant Lara Fernandez for the ONE interim atomweight muay Thai world title at "ONE 159: De Ridder vs. Bigdash" on July 22, and a victory would make her a rare double-champ in the promotion.

If she wins a second ONE Championship belt, there would certainly be more crosshairs in her direction, but "JT" is not fazed by that prospect.

Instead, she thinks it's what success in combat sports is all about.

"I think any title holder or top contender should be ONE's most wanted, shouldn't they? the Boxing Works athlete asked. "So yeah, of course (I feel like one of the most wanted athletes), and I want to be able to stay on top and continue to fight top-level competition. So I welcome the challenge. It is a compliment."

For now, Todd is facing potential threats from multiple directions.

French superstar Anissa Meksen has been vocal about her desire to challenge for Todd's kickboxing gold. Meanwhile, "JT" will need to overcome ONE atomweight muay Thai world champion Allycia Hellen Rodrigues if she wins the interim belt against Fernandez.

Plus, there are plenty of rising talents who are constantly striving to battle the best, and that's why Todd knows that she can never rest on her laurels.

"I think that's the part I love about this sport, too," the 36-year-old said. "There are always new people coming up. And once you get the belt, it doesn't mean that you stay up there. You have to constantly find ways to improve and get better. I'm not perfect in the sport, either.

"It's always a challenge, and I'm always trying to problem-solve. And I think that's in my nature to do that. So I think that's part of the reason why I love this sport so much."

Todd impressed with Rodrigues

Todd and Fernandez will square off for the ONE interim atomweight muay Thai world title in the co-main event of ONE 159, but reigning divisional queen Rodrigues is looming large.

The Brazilian striker took a hiatus from competition surrounding the birth of her son, but she's now working back into shape and will face the interim champ for the undisputed title.

For her part, "JT" thinks highly of Rodrigues and expects a hard-fought unification clash if she defeats WBC muay Thai world champion Fernandez on July 22. 

"(Rodrigues is) a solid muay Thai fighter," the American said. "Watching her fight Stamp (Fairtex to earn the belt) was impressive. She has some immense forward pressure as well. And she is able to utilize all of her weapons. Her elbows, her knees. She had some good body shots as well, body shots, and left kicks with Stamp."

This story first published at ONEFC.com.