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5 things you need to know about Rodtang Jitmuangnon

Rodtang Jitmuangnon [Photo courtesy of ONE Championship]
Rodtang Jitmuangnon [Photo courtesy of ONE Championship]

ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong recently announced the company’s plans to hold a "special rules" super-fight between Demetrious Johnson and Rodtang Jitmuangnon. The fight will be held on December 5 at the ONE X mega event.

While Johnson – ONE's #1-ranked flyweight contender – has garnered plenty of shine in the mixed martial arts community, ONE flyweight Muay Thai world champion Rodtang is less known to the masses of MMA fans, for now.

In the duo’s earlier years, while Johnson was beginning to snatch necks and cash checks, Rodtang made a name for himself in Asia and beyond by dominating the crowded Muay Thai scene. So, before his official introduction to the unfamiliar viewers, here are five things you need to know about Rodtang Jitmuangnon.

#1 Rodtang Called 'The Iron Man' For A Reason

One trait MMA and Muay Thai fighters have in common is the fans' mutual amusement surrounding the athletes’ nicknames. Some are good, some are bad, some don’t make sense, and some do. In Rodtang’s case, 'The Iron Man' nickname fits like a glove.

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The 24-year-old has made it a habit – for better or worse – to drop his hands and extend his neck forward in the midst of combat, inviting his adversary to hit him with unguarded strikes. Somehow, this has not come back to hurt Rodtang yet. In fact, it has done the opposite, proving to be as mentally deflating as any combat mind game.

After absorbing the strikes, Rodtang performs his signature neck and shoulder roll, akin to the Marvel superhero 'Ironman' putting on his suit of armor. After that is when he tends to initiate his attacks, masterfully combining physical and mental warfare.

#2 Rodtang Packs A Lot Of Power

Rodtang’s 'The Iron Man' nickname is not solely applicable to his chin. It also applies to his offensive prowess. That’s right, if his seamless absorption of punishment isn’t enough to mentally break the opposition, his return fire surely will be.

Rodtang’s ability to combine speed and power has earned him a feared reputation. With a seemingly unbreakable iron chin and punches and kicks strong enough to chop down a tree, you’d be hard-pressed to find a hole in his game. This partially explains his impressive record.

Rodtang Jitmuangnon [Photo courtesy of ONE Championship]
Rodtang Jitmuangnon [Photo courtesy of ONE Championship]

#3 Rodtang Holds A Muay Thai & Kickboxing Record of 267-42-10

No, this is not a typo, Rodtang does hold a professional record of 267-42-10. While it may seem bizarre to a strict MMA consumer, Muay Thai fans are accustomed to seeing gaudy records, with athletes commonly competing multiple times in a week.

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However, even for the most hardcore Muay Thai fans, Rodtang’s record is shocking. At just 24-years-old, throughout a whopping 319 bouts, his 267 wins earn him an 84 percent winning rate, an unprecedented amount of success. So how did he accumulate so many fights at such a young age? That brings us to fact number four.

#4 Rodtang’s Muay Thai Career Began When He Was 10-Years-Old

While most 10-year-olds are deeply entrenched in the 5th grade, Rodtang’s 10th year wasn’t as glamorous. In an attempt to help provide a source of income for his family in Thailand, Rodtang took it upon himself to enter the ring and fight to earn money.

Of course, while a lifestyle like this is unfamiliar to most in western culture, it’s hard not to appreciate a person willing to do whatever it takes to help his family. Rodtang’s introduction into Muay Thai serves as the perfect template for a true martial artist, as he displayed honor, humility, and ultimate respect for his family by taking his chosen path.

So despite his intimidating exterior and spectacular performances in the Circle, rest assured that Rodtang has a big heart, making him an easy athlete to cheer for.

#5 MMA Debut Potentially On The Horizon

While his bout against Demetrious Johnson is only partially under MMA rules, there have been multiple rumblings regarding a potential transition to MMA for Rodtang.

Should 'The Iron Man' make a full-time move to the world’s leading combat sport, he would enter the mix with one of the most sophisticated striking repertoires the game has ever seen. Definitely an interesting possibility.

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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