While Thailand, and Bangkok in particular, is no stranger to epic fights, the country’s Muay Thai scene has received an uptick in global attention thanks to ONE Championship, the world's largest martial arts organization headquartered in Singapore. Boasting world-class production standards, ONE Championship holds the largest sports entertainment events in major cities across Asia and with a plan to expand globally. Each spectacle features some of the best and biggest international martial artists.

The nation’s best Muay Thai and MMA talents have reaped the benefits. Athletes like Superbon Singha Mawynn, Rodtang Jitmuangnon, Stamp Fairtex, and Tawanchai PK Saenchai have gone from household names in Thailand to global superstars.


Photo: Stamp Fairtex / ONE Championship


It's been a very exciting year for ONE Championship. The brand has hosted ONE Friday Fights, which happens every Friday evening at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, and ONE Fight Night events on a monthly basis, broadcasted during US prime time (Saturday mornings here in Thailand). The brand also had its US debut in Denver back in May—an event that saw a highly anticipated rubber match between MMA legend Demetrius Johnson and Adriano Moraes. In 2024, ONE Championship will return to Japan for the first time since the pandemic and host its debut event in Qatar. 

So what's so different about their events? ONE Championship has set itself apart with a unique line-up of martial arts disciplines all under the same banner. In a single event, fans can see MMA, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and submission grappling on the same canvas. There have even been special rules bouts that cater to athletes going up against someone from a different discipline—an experience that fans can't find anywhere else.


Photo: Rodtang Jitmuangnon / ONE Championship


BK Magazine invited two hardcore fans to tell us what they love about ONE Championship. 




Dietrich Neu

Resident in Thailand for nine years, martial arts fan for 15 years.



Justin Wilkie

Thailand resident for four years, martial arts fan for 20 years.


How did you become a fan?


Dietrich: It was always on my radar as an MMA fan. I would see the highlights pop up in Reddit and other places. I became a big fan of ONE Championship about five years ago when they hosted an event in Bangkok’s Impact Arena. It was the first time I had seen a major live event and the atmosphere was incredible. Shinya Aoki was there, who I  knew from watching Pride FC back in the day. Can’t recall who his opponent was but he submitted him and then ran into the crowd like a maniac. I also showed up to the event with a makeshift “just bleed” shirt (based off the legendary fan meme from years ago). Lots of folks in the crowd knew the reference and chatted about it. I was hooked after that. 


Justin: I grew up playing hockey, which involves fighting, and that’s where I was introduced to combat sports. I started watching boxing in the 90s. Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, big names like that. I think it was only natural that I became a fan of MMA, mainly because of how many different skill sets the fighters need to have to be successful. I always knew about ONE Championship but only became a die-hard fan when Superbon knocked out Giorgio Petrosyan cold. I mean, I just couldn’t believe what I saw. Petrosyan had been known as one of, if not the, greatest kickboxer of all time. Michael Schiavello once called him the “Floyd Mayweather Jr. of Kickboxing.” Watching him get folded by Superbon was surreal. I really didn’t know who Superbon was until that KO started floating around the internet.


Photo: Moments before impact during Superbon’s epic KO win over Giorgio Petrosyan / ONE Championship


What do you think about ONE Championship’s mix of disciplines in one event?


Dietrich: I think it’s the best approach for a  martial arts organization. Their hosting of Muay Thai bouts was a great idea. Some of the best combat sports moments in the past few years have come out of those bouts—DJ vs. Rodtang, Superbon vs. Petrosyan, or Stamp vs. Alma Juniku. There are so many world-class athletes that specialize in particular disciplines and I think their talents get lost in MMA-only organizations. With ONE Championship, you can get exposure to high-level talent across a range of disciplines. 


Justin: A fight is a fight, and I like the fact they put on everything in one show. Sometimes a full card of MMA can get pretty bland if the matches get drawn out into stalemates. It’s nice to have some change-ups on the card. The Muay Thai matches with little gloves can be complete mayhem, and the submission grappling-only fights really show the skills of the athletes. I think having different sports on the cards is a big selling point and therefore makes ONE Championship unique. The mixed rules fight between DJ and Rodtang is a great example of something that wouldn’t have been possible anywhere else in the world. 


Photo: Tawanchai PK Saenchai / ONE Championship


With 2024 finally here, ONE Championship is hosting more fights for fans to get excited about. On January 13, Thailand will host another big-ticket night of bouts as elite mixed martial artists Shamil “The Cobra” Gasanov and “Spider” Oh Ho Taek are set to lock horns at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium for ONE Fight Night 18.


Any fights you are excited about on the ONE Fight Night 18 card?


Dietrich: The main event between Shamil Gasanov and Oh Ho Taek is an interesting one because both guys are coming off their first losses in the organization. When a fighter loses, especially for the first time, their return bout is a big test of mettle. When you have two fighters in that same situation, fighting each other, it creates a very tense moment. You know that one of them will leave elated to have erased their feelings of defeat, but for the other it will feel like a heartbreaking compound loss. 


Justin: For me, it’s actually one of the other bouts that I am most excited about: Kwon Won-il vs. Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg. Zoltsetseg has such a wild fighting style and the punching power to back it up. Sometimes when you look at a card you see fights that are guaranteed bangers—that is one of them. 


Photo: Thailand fans at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium / ONE Championship


The fists, kicks, and knees are definitely going to fly this January 13 when Shamil “The Cobra” Gasanov and “Spider” Oh Ho Taek fight to regain glory. If you’ve been jonesing to check out some action in Bangkok, here is one fight you cannot miss in the new year. 


Photo: Prajanchai reclaims the ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World title by defeating Joseph Lasiri / ONE Championship


The event also includes the opportunity for ticket holders to meet current ONE Strawweight Muay Thai Champion Prajanchai PK Saenchai, who unified his championship belt last year. So what are you waiting for? Get your tickets now to enjoy a 15% discount and unlock exclusive access! 


Photo: Shamil Gasanov Vs. Oh Ho Taek Elevated To Main Event Of ONE Fight Night 18 / ONE Championship


Follow ONE Championship on Instagram, Facebook, and X (formerly Twitter) to stay updated on all the exciting events coming up in 2024.



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