Nico Carrillo has no issue facing Saemapetch though Jonathan Haggerty remains a top priority: "I have a spot to defend myself"

Nico Carrillo
Nico Carrillo (middle) wasn’t against fighting Saemapetch (right) before Jonathan Haggerty (left)

Nico Carrillo understands his responsibility to defend his number one ranking in the ONE bantamweight Muay Thai division.

Since making his ONE debut in April 2023, Carrillo has solidified himself as a legitimate contender to Jonathan Haggerty's bantamweight throne. 'King of the North' holds a 3-0 record (3 KO/TKO) under the ONE Championship banner, including a second-round knockout against Nong-O in December 2023.

On July 5, Nico Carrillo returns to action at ONE Fight Night 23 against number four-ranked Saemapetch Fairtex. During an interview with Sky Sports MMA Club, the Scottish bantamweight had this to say about facing Saemapetch instead of a potential title shot against Haggerty:

"I'm excited. I knew I'd have to face off with him at some point anyway. I was hoping that I'd get to beat up Haggerty first. And then, maybe defend it against the people in the rankings, but I'm No.1 and I have a spot to defend myself. So it's just the way I'm looking at it."

ONE Fight Night 23 goes down inside the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. The July 5 event can be seen live and for free by North American and Canadian viewers with an active Amazon Prime Video subscription.


Will Nico Carrillo earn a bantamweight Muay Thai title shot with win against Saemapetch?

Typically, a number one-ranked fighter is one win away from a title shot. Meanwhile, the ONE bantamweight Muay Thai division could have different circumstances. Jonathan Haggerty is a two-sport world champion with plenty of super-fight options due to his star power.

Therefore, Haggerty could end up defending his ONE kickboxing throne or facing someone like Rodtang before Nico Carrillo receives his opportunity. With that said, an impressive performance against Saemapetch would likely lead to a title shot for Carrillo, even if he has to wait a few months.

Firstly, Haggerty is focused on his upcoming title defense against Superlek. The must-see matchup is scheduled for the co-main event of ONE's North American return on September 6. Tickets for ONE 168 can be found here.

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Edited by C. Naik
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