The 42-year-old known as “Little Tyson” has been honing his martial arts skills for nearly three decades, and has had some crucial role models guiding him along the way, including the legendary Kru Yodtong Senanan.
Now, he views it as his responsibility to positively influence the new generation of martial artists, and help them navigate their respective journeys.
“Coming up as a kid in Thailand, I always had older fighters I could look up to and follow as an example,” Sityodtong explains. “When you are young, sometimes you do not have all the answers, and it really helps to get advice from someone who has been there and done it.
“I was once one of those youngsters before myself, so I am always happy to lend a helping hand where I can, and influence people.”
Sityodtong competed in more than 60 professional boxing matches, and held the WBA World Super Featherweight Championship for three years prior to making the move to mixed martial arts in 2011. He knows all about what it is like coming up in the combat sports world. He uses his knowledge, as well as skills, to help those around him at his new home in Singapore.
“I want to show others that if you take care of yourself and are dedicated, you can fight for as long as you want,” states Sityodtong. “In the end, it all comes down to discipline and hard work. By carrying myself the right way, I look to set a good example for the future generations to follow.”
Sityodtong is truly living up to his words. The last time “Little Tyson” appeared inside the cage was this past March, when he returned home to Bangkok, Thailand, to battle Ramon Gonzalez in front of his countrymen at ONE: WARRIOR KINGDOM. Despite being grounded by his opponent, the Thai came back strong in the second round, and forced the exhausted Gonzalez to verbally submit due to strikes.
With a 3-1 professional record, the former boxing world champion will clash with Jerome S. Paye in a flyweight affair at ONE: CONQUEST OF KINGS on Saturday, 29 July, from the GOR Kertajaya in Surabaya, Indonesia.
Paye, a Liberian now based in Jakarta, is a third-degree black belt in taekwondo, but is well-versed in Muay Thai, boxing, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu as well. The 39-year-old holds a 2-3 record, and most recently lost to Carlson Gracie BJJ brown belt Stefer Rahardian via unanimous decision at ONE: QUEST FOR POWER earlier this year.
Sityodtong wisely knows his opposition is hungry for a victory and desperately wants to break his two-fight skid, especially in his adopted home country. That is why the seasoned veteran is not underestimating him, or any rival, for that matter.
“I have seen some of his fights,” Sityodtong admits. “I do not pay too much attention to winning streaks or losing streaks. On fight night, anyone can be dangerous in the cage, and I do not underestimate anyone. From what I have seen, my opponent is a hard worker in the cage, and I expect a good fight.”
Even so, “Little Tyson” has been training diligently with all of the world champions at Evolve MMA, so he feels confident in getting his hand raised in Surabaya, and eventually challenge the elite flyweights in ONE Championship.
“I love to entertain the fans, so they may see me end the fight with my boxing. But I am prepared for anything that happens,” he says. “My long term goals are to keep getting better, and to enjoy myself in the cage. By keeping my head down and picking up wins, I will continue to rise up the ranks, and fight the top guys in the division.”
Sityodtong has always maintained that valor. He is respectful, courteous, focused, and always challenging himself. The Thai is the quintessential role model who continues to lead by example. Even at the age of 42, “Little Tyson” remains forever young.
“I do not pay attention too much to my age,” he admits. “As they say, it is just a number. I am still enjoying competing, and plan to for a while.”