Savvas Michael is focused on his ONE flyweight muay Thai world grand prix semifinal matchup on Friday, August 26, but like his contemporaries, he is thinking about making the switch to another sport.
The Cypriot striker, who is scheduled to face ONE flyweight muay Thai world champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon in the tournament semifinals at "ONE on Prime Video 1: Moraes vs. Johnson II" in Singapore, is plotting an eventual move to MMA.
Both the Thai megastar and No. 2-ranked flyweight muay Thai contender Jonathan Haggerty intend to make the transition to MMA in the future, and Michael would like to follow their lead and test his skills in the all-encompassing sport.
"I'm 23 now and at the peak of my sport fighting in ONE Championship," Michael said. "I'm fighting the best ones in the world, and they are interested to go to MMA, as well. Therefore, I would like to try MMA, as well, because there are more aspects that you have to develop or think about."
Michael, who also goes by "The Baby Face Killer," is considered one of the best muay Thai fighters born outside of Thailand. The Cypriot holds a 44-4 professional record, currently owns the No. 4-ranked flyweight muay Thai contender's spot, and is both a former WBC and WMC muay Thai world champion.
Before he makes the jump to another sport, however, the Petchyindee Academy standout first wants to win the grand prix, beat Rodtang for the ONE flyweight muay Thai world championship, and then get a few world title defenses under his belt.
"If I end up winning the title and defending it a few times, I should be looking at the next challenge," Michael said. "I want to keep challenging myself, and MMA will give that to me."
Michael credits Petchyindee Academy for better mindset
Cyprus' Michael may want to become a dominant force in MMA someday, but first, he needs to reach the pinnacle in muay Thai, and Petchyindee Academy could be the gym that helps to get him there.
"The Baby Face Killer" has always possessed a championship mentality, but the world-class gym's culture quickly broadened his horizons when he relocated to Bangkok, Thailand, five years ago.
"There's a huge difference between training in Thailand and training in Europe," Michael said. "Here, we live and breathe in the gym. We are here six days a week, and there are no coffee breaks to see your friends. Meanwhile, fighters in Europe are a bit looser in terms of discipline.
"In Thailand, it's more of a job because they have to provide for their families. It's a different perspective that opened my eyes from a very young age. I have to fight for something, and it's just made me the fighter that I am now."
By grasping that mindset and immersing himself into the gym's culture, Michael feels like he has taken his game to new heights. In turn, that has given him an extra boost ahead of the biggest fight in his muay Thai career.
The 23-year-old knows Rodtang's reputation very well, and he's aware that the flyweight king hasn't lost a Muay Thai or kickboxing match in ONE Championship yet. But his Petchyindee Academy teammates believe in him, and that has given him strength.
"I embraced that mentality wherein I might not survive if I don't win," Michael said. "Some fighters here have to fight every three weeks.
"It's a different ballgame in Thailand, and that's why I'm confident coming into this fight with Rodtang because I've lived with these guys and they believe in me. If they say I can do it, why would I not listen to them? They've seen me mature and made me feel confident that I am ready for this."
This story first published at ONEFC.com.