Known as “Greek Dynamite”, 28-year-old Muay Thai ace Stergos Mikkios has spent his life battling the odds.
He grew up in a Greek orphanage, was badly burned as a child, scarring him for life, and battled for every opportunity he’s ever had. He’s dealt with the challenges of starting a new life in a new country, coped with the mental torment of bullying, and suffered criticism from his parents for getting into trouble at school
But now, the 19-8-2 kickboxer has the opportunity to shine on the biggest stage of his career.
Mikkios takes on Ognjen Topic (30-20-2) in a ONE Super Series Muay Thai bout at ONE: GRIT AND GLORY in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Saturday, 12 May, knowing that victory could propel him to superstardom.
“All these things I have gone through in my life, all these downfalls, all these obstacles, I tend to appreciate myself a lot of more for overcoming everything,” he said.
“I feel fortunate getting the breakthrough where I am fighting for ONE Championship, and I am not going to let this opportunity go to waste. I am going to give everything I have for this one.
“I am definitely the underdog, but I always fight with heart. I am fighting with all my heart. There is no war I have ever gone through where I have given up. I have never been knocked out in my life. I have always been standing. That is what you guys are going to see in this fight.”
Mikkios is proud of his record, and his ability to always finish the bout standing, but he also acknowledges the ability of the man who’ll be facing him on Saturday night.
Topic is a multiple title holder, including the Lion Fight Lightweight World Title, and has a strong all-round game that has marked him out as one of the world’s best.
While Mikkios knows he faces a decorated champion, he’s anything but intimidated. If anything, the level of his opponent will only draw an even better performance from him on the night.
“I’ve fought some crazy people in my career,” he said.
“I know what Ognjen Topic offers, and I know how he fights, and to be honest, I am not really afraid of anything. The only thing I am afraid of is me not giving my 100 percent, and that is pretty much it.
“I am going to come out swinging with good hands, and I am going to chuck those low kicks really hard. He has never fought anybody with that aggressive style with good hands. I am going to bring it to him.”
Plus, the Greek star says his unique, unorthodox style will pose Topic more questions than he can deal with.
“I have a very weird style,” he explained.
“Sometimes I come out southpaw, and sometimes I come out orthodox. I am never the same. I want to always confuse my opponents to where they can never predict me.
“From what I have seen [of Topic], he has one particular style. It is very good, but it is very easy to read. It is a very technical Thai-based style, and I am not that. I am not that at all.”
With a background that saw him overcome adversity as a youngster, Mikkios has grown into an athlete who is comfortable in his own skin, confident in his abilities and seemingly lacking in any fear of defeat.
He says he’s ready to step up to the challenge posed by Topic, and he says he’s ready to win and prove that he is one of the true Muay Thai elite.
“I have had some wins, and I have had some losses, but it is all about the experience,” he explained.
“I got a lot from it. I gained enough experience, and it gave me a reason to say I can do this. [I have gone up] against high-level Muay Thai fighters. I stand up with them, and it made me believe I can be one of these guys. I can be one of the best.”