Nong-O Gaiyanghadao has dominated ONE's bantamweight muay Thai division since winning the inaugural world title in 2019, but that could all change when he meets Liam "Hitman" Harrison.
On August 26, Harrison will challenge Nong-O for the belt in the co-main event of "ONE on Prime Video 1: Moraes vs. Johnson II" live in North American primetime – and he might be the man to dethrone the Thai legend.
It won't be easy, but the British superstar is a world-class operator with the experience, skills, and mentality to beat any opponent.
Here are five reasons why "Hitman" could be Nong-O's most dangerous challenger yet when they square off at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
1. Awesome finishing power
Harrison's gameplan is not a secret. The Leeds native loves to come forward and swing heavy leather, and that's exactly what he plans to do on August 26.
His power is a real equalizer against any opponent, and even though Nong-O also hits like a train, "Hitman" knows he can drop anyone if he connects.
The challenger's left hook comes thundering in with staggering velocity, and his right hand isn't far behind. Concussive elbows follow, either on the way in or inside the clinch.
Harrison has used those tools to earn back-to-back KO wins in ONE and 48 in his career. That gives him a finishing rate of 53 percent – a high number in muay Thai – and he'll be even more powerful with smaller four-ounce MMA gloves.
2. A heart that won't quit
The Bad Company representative's willingness to walk forward and trade goes hand in hand with his heart and durability.
Harrison believes he can absorb any shot and keep moving forward. He took Rodlek PK.Saenchai's best strikes and grew stronger, and he came back from two knockdowns to earn an epic victory over Muangthai PK.Saenchai in his last outing.
Knowing his chin can hold up, "Hitman" will enter the fray swinging. Plus, he has the mindset to spring up from a knockdown and still want to push ahead.
This means that unless Nong-O can punish Harrison enough to keep him down, there will always be a threat coming in his direction.
3. Fearsome low kicks
If they go punch for punch, it'll be a very exciting battle between Harrison and Nong-O, but in "the art of eight limbs" you need more than just fists.
Of course, Harrison packs some of the fastest and most powerful low kicks in the sport, and few can match his output with these attacks.
The Brit will punctuate his boxing combinations by smashing his shin into his opponent's thigh, and he's not afraid to double or triple up if he sees an opening.
This could help him break Nong-O down, rack up some important damage, and open up opportunities to go upstairs.
4. A well-rounded game
Harrison is known for a muay mat style that features his heavy hands and low kicks, but there's plenty more to his game.
For anybody who follows him on social media, it's clear that "Hitman" possesses a complete skill set that encompasses every area of the stand-up art.
While his powerful shots might get the most attention, the former WMC and WBC muay Thai world champion has strong defense, evasion techniques, and counters.
His kick-catches and sweeps are other examples of his fast reactions combining with explosive retorts, so he'll be happy to battle in any area against Nong-O.
5. An epic career that's led to this moment
Along with his skills and attributes, it feels like Harrison's legendary journey has led him to this monumental showdown at the right moment.
The finest U.K. muay Thai export of all time, "Hitman" has amassed accolades around the world, but with a five-fight winning streak and two straight knockouts in ONE, he could be poised to capture the biggest prize in the sport.
The 36-year-old has spent decades going up against elite rivals, and all of that experience could pay off against Nong-O – a true icon of muay Thai.
With confidence, momentum, experience, and skills, all of these elements could converge at the right time for Harrison to cement his place in history as a ONE World Champion.
This story first published at ONEFC.com.