Martial arts has been a part of Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke’s (7-2) entire life.
The Muay Thai living legend, known to his students at Evolve MMA as “Kru Rong,” claimed the Lumpinee Stadium Championship on three occasions, and later transitioned into the cage and captured the inaugural ONE Strawweight World Championship in 2015.
Although the Singaporean-based Thai fell on hard times, losing the belt to Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito in May 2016, and then following that up with a spit decision loss to Joshua Pacio in March, he recently turned it all around. At ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES in May, he displayed his trademark striking ability by knocking out Adrian Matheis in the very first round.
“It felt great to get back in the win column,” he exclaims. “I am feeling confident, and I am excited for my next bout, and to continue my quest to win back my belt.”
That mission continues on Friday, 18 August. “Kru Rong” will step back inside the cage and square off against Filipino combatant Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan (6-2) at ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS. The bout will be broadcast live from the Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Amnuaysirichoke’s upcoming foe was sidelined for many months, but stepped back into the cage this past April at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY, and earned a split decision victory over Jeremy Miado.
“He (Catalan) is a good athlete with good wrestling,” the former champ admits. “I am fully prepared for anything he will throw at me, and I am training hard for this bout. Once we step in the cage, I will be ready.”
To get ready for this match, he has been working hard at Singapore’s Evolve MMA around the clock.
Amnuaysirichoke starts the day early at 5:30 a.m. About an hour later, he teaches Muay Thai to aspiring martial artists. While he has a big match scheduled, training and coaching others helps him see the game from a different perspective.
“The one thing about teaching I love is that it helps me stay sharp, and not forget the basics or details of certain techniques,” he says. “I am constantly telling people how to do them. It helps me refresh my memory.”
Following his coaching, his first big training session begins at 9 a.m. The routine varies daily, ranging from Muay Thai to wrestling and jiu-jitsu, the latter of which is slowly becoming a favourite of his.
“I enjoy learning,” he says. “I enjoy BJJ and grappling the most. But I like to mix it all together. I enjoy learning, and adding new aspects to my game.”
Teaching and training continues throughout the day, until finally at 8:30 p.m., “Kru Rong” finally gets to rest. He goes home, cooks dinner, and unwinds by strumming the guitar.
“I have been playing since I was a young kid at Muay Thai camps,” he explains. “It is nothing too formal. I am not that great, so it is informal play. I taught myself over the years just to entertain myself.”
He is not a musician by any means, but one thing the Muay Thai living legend does have is the opportunity of being the ONE Strawweight World champion again. If he can defeat Catalan at ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS, he will inch closer to reclaiming the richest prize in Asia.
“I want to get my title back as soon as possible,” he says. “If I win this bout, whenever ONE wants to give me the shot, I will be ready. If ONE wants to give it to me after this bout, then that would be great.”