On Friday in Singapore, Janet Todd added to her legacy by winning the ONE interim atomweight muay Thai world title and becoming a rare two-sport queen.
The American superstar overcame a spirited effort from Spanish debutant Lara Fernandez at ONE 159, ultimately earning the unanimous decision after five hard-fought rounds of action.
It was a gutsy effort from Todd, who also owns the ONE atomweight kickboxing world title. She dealt with intense pressure from Fernandez – especially in the third and fourth frames – but was mentally prepared for it.
"She fought very well," Todd said afterward. "I thought she was a good challenge. I knew she was going to press the pace. I knew she was going to come forward. It was a tough fight. So congrats to Lara.
"I've seen her other fights where she did similar things. I know at this point my fights aren't going to be easy, so that wasn't a surprise."
The bout was tightly contested going into the fifth frame, and many viewers thought the final three minutes would decide the outcome.
Todd's corner believed the same and instructed her to leave everything in the Circle. The veteran striker obliged – and she looked relieved when the scorecards were read in her favor.
"(In between round four and five, coach Bryan Popejoy) said, '(You) got to go. (You) got to win this round,'" Todd recalled. "So I knew I couldn't just wait to see what she throws and play that game. I knew I had to come forward, and I knew I had to win that round. So that's what I went out and did.
"I knew it was close and I knew it was coming down to that last round, so I think (the result) was not a shock. It was more like sheer excitement when your dream comes true. You're like, 'Oh my God, it's happened.' So that's the reaction that you saw."
Todd chasing improvements over records
Now a two-sport ONE World Champion, Janet Todd has become an icon on the global stage of martial arts.
She also has the most wins (7) and knockouts (3) of any woman in ONE's all-striking divisions, but it's not those numbers that keep her motivated. Above all, "JT" hopes to keep evolving and showcasing her all-around skills inside the Circle.
"I think about what I'm able to accomplish in the ring, what sort of techniques I was able to execute, my growth, my fight IQ, and stuff like that. I honestly don't think about the records," Todd explained. "I just want to keep growing as a fighter and as a martial artist in this art and continue to show the beauty in it, and the devastating aspects of it too."
Of course, Todd also has some important items at the top of her agenda.
The newly crowned ONE interim atomweight muay Thai world champion would love to become the undisputed divisional queen whenever ONE atomweight muay Thai world champion Allycia Hellen Rodrigues returns from the birth of her first child.
And soon after, "JT" plans to put her atomweight kickboxing gold on the line – perhaps against a particularly dangerous challenger.
"I would like to unify the belts (first), especially since this is an interim, and it'd be cool to actually be able to get the world title from Allycia," Todd said. "I want to unify the belts and defend my kickboxing belt. Both are in my cards. Of course, Anissa Meksen is on my radar as well."
This story first published at ONEFC.com.