For an athlete as used to winning as Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke, taking back-to-back defeats is a hard pill to swallow.
It is important to take lessons from the losses, however, and that is something the 38-year-old will have done time and time again over a long career in Muay Thai, and now in mixed martial arts.
Most notably, he still has the fire to right those wrongs. It could be easy for Amnuaysirichoke to lose that competitive edge, when he has already reached the elite levels of combat sports.
After all, he was a two-division Lumpinee champion, one of the most prestigious accolades in Muay Thai, and the inaugural ONE Strawweight World Champion, which is the pinnacle of mixed martial arts.
He can count himself amongst the elite, but that does not mean he is content on letting his career slip away. In fact, those losses drive him to succeed even more.
“In fighting, winning and losing is part of the game,” he 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.”
Amnuaysirichoke was put to the test in Muay Thai and passed with flying colors by re-capturing his glory. Now, he is being put the sword once again in regards to his mixed martial arts pursuits.
The Evolve MMA coach and fighter raced off to 6-0 inside the cage when he started competing in the sport in 2014. He became the inaugural ONE Strawweight World Champion a year later, and that familiar feeling of success returned.
“I was very proud to win the ONE Championship title,” said Amnuaysirichoke. “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.”
However, things took a turn for the worse, and quickly. In May 2015, he surrendered the title to Yoshitaka Naito after the Japanese challenger submitted him in front of his Thai countrymen at ONE: KINGDOM OF CHAMPIONS in Bangkok. Despite taking well to grappling, Naito was a specialist in the field, and used his strength to overwhelm Amnuaysirichoke.
Even more devastating than the defeat in the cage was losing the grandmother that raised him, tragically on the very same night. As the Thai took the time to grieve and recover, he found the support rejuvenated his desire for competition.
“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.”
Although Amnuaysirichoke returned this past March at ONE: WARRIOR KINGDOM in Bangkok, it was not the stirring comeback he desired, as he instead lost a split decision at the hands of Joshua Pacio. Still, the match itself was competitive enough to keep the fire burning.
If anything, it further confirmed that he still has the tools to recapture his title. Though losing hurts, getting back to the top would make it worthwhile.
The Thai is slated to meet Adrian “Papau Badboy” Matheis this coming Friday, 26 May, at ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES in the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and wants to prove he is not done yet.
“I am extremely determined to win. I have trained hard, I feel prepared, and am confident,” he states. “My goal is to get the belt back. I will train hard and do everything I can to make it happen.”