Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke is in unfamiliar territory. For the first time in his mixed martial arts career, the former ONE Strawweight World Champion is on a two-fight losing skid. On Friday Night, 26 May, he is determined to end that unlucky streak.
“In fighting, winning and losing is part of the game,” Amnuayrisichoke explains. “You have to have a warrior spirit and know that you will not let obstacles get in your way. I hate losing, but they really motivate me to train even harder and come back even stronger.”
“Kru Rong,” as his students call him, is familiar with coming back even stronger. After retiring from Muay Thai in 2007, in a landmark career that saw him accumulate a 282-65 record and capture the Lumpinee stadium championship three times, he accepted a position to teach at Evolve MMA in Singapore.
It was at this world famous gym where he got his first taste of mixed martial arts.
“I did not know about mixed martial arts before moving to work as a Muay Thai instructor at Evolve MMA,” he admits. “Once I got to Evolve, I learned about MMA, got curious, and started training.”
Amnuayrisichoke proved able to translate his world-class striking to the cage. He made his mixed martial arts debut in 2014, and won his first five matches en route to claming the inaugural ONE Strawweight World Championship in May 2015.
“I was very proud to win the ONE Championship World Title,” he states. “I was proud that I was able to become the first Thai mixed martial arts World Champion. I was glad that I could show the world that we Thai people could compete in the sport.”
Though he won his next bout, a non-title affair against Brazil’s Yago Bryan, everything started to go downhill from there.
“Kru Rong” made his long awaited return to his former stomping grounds of Bangkok to defend the belt against Shooto champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, in what was marked as his first official title defense.
Despite an impressive first round, the relentless Naito’s grappling prowess started getting the better of the hometown hero as the bout wore on, and Amnuaysirichoke was submitted in the fourth round. He had lost the belt in front of his countrymen.
”I was very sad,” he says. “It was my first time competing in mixed martial arts in Thailand, and I wanted to win it for the Thai people.”
Unknown to him at the time, he had also lost something even more. On that very same evening, the most important person in his life passed away.
“It was a difficult experience,” he recalls, emotionally. “My grandmother raised me as a child and losing her that day was tough for me.”
Amnuayrisichoke spent the following year on the sidelines and teaching at Evolve MMA as he healed from those wounds. During that time, he remembered what led him to his martial arts journey, and that further motivates him today.
“The support from my parents and family was amazing,” he says. “If it was not for them, I probably would not have even started, and their continued support helped me pursue a professional career and become a World Champion. To this day, they are very supportive.”
Even though “Kru Rong” lost a razor-thin split decision to Joshua Pacio at ONE: WARRIOR KINGDOM, he is still sharp enough to regain the belt he lost, and is more determined than ever to pursue redemption.
Amnuaysirichoke intends to bounce back against Adrian “Papau Badboy” Matheis this coming Friday at ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES. While his opponent is a dangerous Indonesian youngster with two devastating knockouts in the ONE cage, the Evolve MMA representative views him as a stepping stone to getting back his title.
“I am extremely determined to win,” the Singaporean-based Thai states. “I have trained hard, I feel prepared, and am confident I will win. I do not make plans for any particular type of finish, but I am ready for however the fight goes. My goal is to get the belt back.
“I will train hard and do everything I can to make it happen.”