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"I wanna be there" - Shannon Wiratchai is eyeing a place among the top ONE featherweights

[Photo Credit: ONE Championship] Shannon Wiratchai
[Photo Credit: ONE Championship] Shannon Wiratchai
Timothy Wheaton

"OneShin" Shannon Wiratchai is looking to break into the ONE Championship featherweight elite.

In a recent interview with SCMP MMA,he mapped out the promotion's stacked featherweight division. He discussed the top five and suggested that's where he wants to be next.

Wiratchai said:

"In the rankings for featherweight. Gary Tonnon just lost to Thanh Le. Now, Tang Kai just called out Thanh Le, for sure they'll go for a brawl. And Martin Nguyen, he's back! He's back already with an impressive win. They are all on fire. I want to be there."

The Thai-born fighter has had some time away from the ONE circle. In his last bout, he won a decision victory over experienced kickboxer Fabio Pinca, which improved his record to 10-6. The fight was in 2020 and, now, Waratchai says he wants his place in that featherweight top five.

He explained that the top fighters in ONE's featherweight division have earned their rightful place. Fighters like Kim Jae Woong, Le, Tonon, Nguyen and the other top athletes. He sees his next step as getting in the cage with these guys.

Check out the full interview below:

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In his career, Wiratchai has not stayed in one weight class for very long. He made his debut at 145 pounds before eventually jumping to 155 and even 170. His last two bouts have been at 155 pounds (featherweight) and he says this weight class feels a lot more correct for him as a fighter.

"Yes I feel like featherweight is way better, [a] healthier weight. Lightweight is good... Physically, not strong enough yet for lightweight. But in featherweight, I found a good balance. I might have lost some strength... But then I started to get used to it, the diet and training, and what I should do before the fight. Now I feel like I start to prepare myself well in featherweight and build myself from here."
Who’s NEXT for Thai superstar Shannon Wiratchai? 🇹🇭 #WeAreONE #ONEChampionship https://t.co/GPjkt29laN

"OneShin" Shannon Wiratchai on Thanh Le versus Tang Kai

"OneShin" Shannon Wiratchai has said he is very impressed with both Thanh Le and Tang Kai. The American Le is the current ONE featherweight champion. He is currently on a five-fight KO/TKO win streak.

His next opponent will likely be China's Tang Kai, who is on an impressive nine-fight win streak. His most recent victory was a first-round knockout of Jae Woong Kim at ONE X.

The victory set Tang Kai as the next top contender for reigning champion Thanh Le. Discussing the matchup, Shannon Wiratchai said:

"Tang Kai is going to be the real deal for Thanh Le. Thanh Le is so good. But I want shoutout for Tang Kai... He's a good striker for sure. In his last fight, he said something like he doesn't want to get taken down. But for sure in striking he is the real deal. If it happens, Thanh Le and Tang Kai is something we want to see. It's not going to be an easy time for Thanh Le."
#AndStillThanh Le knocks out Garry Tonon in 56 seconds to retain his ONE Championship featherweight title.Big statement.#ONELightsOuthttps://t.co/qL7epjgwxu

Edited by Harvey Leonard

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