"My heart was pounding like before a fight" - Anatoly Malykhin shares what it's like to play in a celebrity soccer game with Rodtang

Anatoly Malykhin (L) and Rodtang (R) | Photo by ONE Championship
Anatoly Malykhin (L) and Rodtang (R) | Photo by ONE Championship

Three-division MMA world champion Anatoly Malykhin is indeed a supreme athlete, so it's not surprising to see him excel in other sports as well.

So much so, that 'Sladkiy' couldn't turn down an invitation from his fellow ONE world champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon to take his talents to the football field.

Fresh from his unanimous decision victory over Denis Puric at ONE 167 last weekend, 'The Iron Man' pulled up for the Fight Knights in a celebrity charity soccer match in the Idol League in Thailand.

Rodtang brought a gigantic reinforcement along with him in the reigning ONE heavyweight, light heavyweight, and middleweight MMA kingpin.

In an interview with ONE, Malykhin admitted he was quite nervous playing on the pitch, comparing it to the feeling he gets inside the Circle. The Russian mauler said:

"My heart was pounding like before a fight, but I went out on the field for the second half, and we immediately went on the attack. With my help, we scored a goal."

One of the many things that sets ONE Championship apart from other promotions is the camaraderie and respect that their athletes have for each other.

Rodtang and Malykhin are indeed the best in their craft, and it's nice to see them letting their guard down for a bit and enjoying some time together outside of fighting.

Anatoly Malykhin thanks Rodtang and Thai players for welcoming him with open arms

Anatoly Malykhin calls Thailand his second home, so the locals pretty much consider him as one of their own.

In the same interview, the three-weight MMA conqueror thanked Rodtang for the amazing time and warm reception:

I'm so grateful to Rodtang for the invitation. The attitude toward me in the team was like toward their own."

Meanwhile, the replay of Rodtang's awe-inspiring performance against Denis Puric, along with the entire ONE 167 card, is free on demand for Prime Video subscribers in the United States and Canada.

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Edited by Krishna Venki
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