Not many strikers can hold a candle to the power, finesse, and technical abilities of Rodtang Jitmuangnon – the biggest muay Thai star on the planet right now.
The reigning ONE flyweight muay Thai world champion is a walking encyclopedia of the striking arts, and his perfect 11-0 record in muay Thai and kickboxing within the ONE Championship circle speaks volumes about his quality.
Excitement, ruthlessness, and ferocity are guaranteed every time Rodtang competes, and all of his fights are must-see entertainment.
As the 24-year-old prepares to return in the ONE flyweight muay Thai world grand prix semifinals later this year, let’s relive his best performances in the organization.
Shines in debut against Sergio Wielzen
Rodtang's courage, raw power, and fight IQ were apparent in his first ONE Championship appearance.
He displayed each of those attributes versus Sergio "Samurai" Wielzen at "ONE: Conquest of Heroes" in September 2018 and kickstarted his dominant run in the organization with a clear-cut unanimous decision victory.
As always, Rodtang never backed down. His hard-hitting Dutch opponent attempted to find a way past the Thai's defense, but every time he succeeded, Rodtang's punches, elbows, and kicks connected on the jaw and body.
Even Wielzen's downward elbows and spinning kicks could not surprise the Jitmuangnon Gym representative, who stuck to his basics, sealed the deal, and immediately established himself as a leading name in ONE's all-striking ranks.
Overwhelms Sok Thy with barrage of leg kicks
Before his lengthy reign as the undisputed flyweight muay Thai king began, Rodtang booked his shot at the gold with a striking masterclass against Sok Thy at "ONE: Warriors of Light" in May 2019.
The Thai's agenda was clear from the start. He punished the Cambodian athlete with heavy leather and stinging low kicks throughout the opening frame.
By the end of the first three minutes, Sok Thy was limping, and the damage to his lead leg was evident.
In the second round, "The Iron Man" once again executed his gameplan like a house on fire. He tagged the Cambodian Top Team star upstairs before continuing his vicious assault with shots to the inside and outside of the legs.
It was simply too much for Sok Thy, who succumbed via TKO after 66 seconds of the second frame.
Dethrones Jonathan Haggerty in gutsy five-rounder
Excitement is certain whenever Rodtang competes, but his first meeting with then-divisional king Jonathan "The General" Haggerty provided a very different kind of entertainment.
For the first time since joining ONE Championship, the Phatthalung native had to overcome adversity to reach the finish line.
Haggerty's frame and push kicks frustrated the Thai striker early on. Each time "The Iron Man" advanced into the pocket, the British star kept him at bay with his left leg.
Still, Rodtang was undeterred. At the midway point of the world title tilt, he turned up the heat – and there was no way out for "The General."
Everything within the challenger's arsenal began flowing with ease. For the last three rounds, he tagged Haggerty with aggressive boxing combinations and perfectly timed kicks.
And even though "The Iron Man" ate a plethora of attacks from his foe, those only seemed to raise his energy bar and aggression.
After five hard-fought frames, the Thai dynamo earned the unanimous decision victory and began his rule as the ONE flyweight muay Thai world champion.
Fends off Haggerty in epic world title rematch
In January 2020, Haggerty had a golden chance to earn redemption in a world title rematch with Rodtang at "ONE: A New Tomorrow."
However, his spirited effort was not enough to take out the defending world champion.
Rodtang methodically broke down the Englishman’s defense with a wide array of weapons before ending the battle with his third knockdown of the third round – an automatic TKO.
In the first stanza, "The Iron Man" sent the London resident to the canvas with a hellish liver shot and kept him on the back foot with relentless pressure. He then pushed the pace in round two with another set of charging attacks.
Finally, Rodtang increased his tempo even further in the third frame, and his output was just too much for "The General" to handle. He sent the Englishman to the canvas repeatedly and retained his belt in highlight-reel fashion.
Showcases complete skillset in grand prix quarterfinals
When Rodtang returned to the ONE circle this past May versus Jacob Smith in the ONE flyweight muay Thai world grand prix quarterfinals at ONE 157, he made it easy for the judges scoring the contest from circle-side.
"The Iron Man's" level of skill was remarkable, as he produced possibly his best fight in the organization.
The 24-year-old hit the promotional newcomer with every strike in the muay Thai handbook – basic one-twos, heavy combinations, teeps, roundhouse kicks, and elbows – all of which constantly found their marks.
Smith did well to hang on, but Rodtang was too intelligent, sharp, and powerful throughout the nine-minute contest.
The Thai's calculated, dominant unanimous decision win punched his ticket to the ONE flyweight muay Thai world grand prix semifinals, where he will battle Savvas "The Baby Face Killer' Michael.
This story first published at ONEFC.com.