Ognjen Topic (30-20-2) wants the entire world to know his name.
The American-based Serbian has captured plenty of championships, including an IFK World Lightweight Title and the Lion Fight Lightweight World Championship, but now he is focused on getting global recognition in ONE Super Series.
This Saturday, 12 May, he will clash with Stergos “Greek Dynamite” Mikkios (19-8-2) in a bantamweight Muay Thai bout at ONE: GRIT AND GLORY, which broadcasts live from the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia.
“If I want to build up a bigger name for myself, I have no choice but to make a statement in this fight,” the 32-year-old says.
“I am 100 percent going to put on a great performance that people are going to enjoy. I am glad that ONE Championship is putting Muay Thai on this platform, so in order for me to make a bigger name for myself, I have to go out there and make a statement.”
Mikkios, 28, is an unorthodox competitor who applies forward-pressure, and likes to strike hard. On the strength of his skills and his undying passion, he has claimed a slew of titles, including the Triumph Kombat Championship.
However, Topic has not familiarized himself too much with “Greek Dynamite.”
The Serbian relies on his coaches from his longtime gym of North Jersey Muay Thai to study his opponent, and think of a winning strategy for him to deploy on event night.
“I do not know much about him,” Topic admits.
“I do not really study fights of my opponents. If I find them on YouTube, I will check out like a minute or so of how he fights. That is more than enough for me.
“I just need to get down the rhythm or the style of the fighter, and that is pretty much it. From there, I can go through everything else. My coaches are the ones who are coming up with the game plan. I did not really know about him as much. I am just taking it as it comes.”
One of the key factors behind Topic’s overwhelming success lies within his work ethic, something he learned by watching his father.
Topic’s dad traveled back and forth between America and his war-torn home of Serbia during the 1990s, in an effort to support his family with his construction job. Eventually, he won an immigration lottery to bring his wife, daughter, and young Ognjen back to New Jersey with him to start anew.
That has never left Topic, who infuses that same dedication into his training. Also, he knows anything can happen at any time, which is why he never underestimates any opponent — including Mikkios.
“I am always going to be working hard,” he says.
“I am not taking any fighter for granted, because at the end of the day, anybody can be taken out. You look at some of these fights and you think this guy has no business being in the ring with another fighter, and then, boom, that fighter gets knocked out, because maybe he took the opponent for granted.
“Those are lessons I have learned from other guys. For me, it does not really matter. I am still going to be training as hard as I can because, in my mind, he can put me out.”