ONE Championship: Smilla Sundell open to mixed rules fight with Xiong Jingnan after Stamp Fairtex is ruled out for Denver 

Smilla Sundell points to her black eye after finishing Natalia Diachkova at ONE Fight Night 22.
Smilla Sundell points to her black eye after finishing Natalia Diachkova at ONE Fight Night 22.

Smilla Sundell, the former ONE Championship strawweight Muay Thai champion, is open to stepping in against Xiong Jingnan, with Stamp Fairtex likely to be ruled out for September's return to Denver.

Thailand's Stamp, 26, underwent surgery on a torn meniscus this week, seemingly putting paid to the main events of both next month's ONE 167 card and ONE 168 at the Ball Arena, home of the NBA's Denver Nuggets.

The atomweight MMA champ was set to defend her belt against the Philippines' Denice Zamboanga on June 8 at Bangkok's Impact Arena before moving up to challenge strawweight queen Xiong of China in the United States.

After going to visit her Fairtex gym teammate while she recovered in hospital on Tuesday, the 19-year-old Swede Sundell told Sportskeeda she is ready to fill the void in Colorado. She said:

"Yeah, actually I would love to do a mixed rules fight. So that would be very cool. Yeah, I’m up for it."

She added:

"I don’t think she [Xiong] has anything to lose. She’s not training Muay Thai at the moment. It will be fair. I'm going into a whole new sport, but she is also. She knows the standup game, her boxing is very good. That’s her strong point. But I don’t know how she is on the ground."

Sundell has been training mixed martial arts "on and off", and practised some Brazilian jiu jitsu before her latest fight was booked. She said:

"I will get back to it – maybe I will train in America when I go there for my seminars too."

She concluded:

"I think I would prefer mixed rules first [to debuting in MMA] because I know I can do Muay Thai. So having the second round as MMA would be great for me. If we pass that round, we go back to Muay Thai and then I can feel safe again."

Sundell eyes title redemption

The Pattaya-based Sundell is coming off a fourth straight victory in ONE, finishing Russia's Natalia Diachkova in the second round of this month's Fight Night 22 main event at Lumpinee Stadium.

But "The Hurricane" was sensationally stripped of her title before the fight, losing it on the scale after failing to make weight and sparking debate over whether she could still make 125 pounds.

Sundell is still confident she can get down to the strawweight limit with enough time to prepare and even picked out Belarusian Ekaterina "Barbie" Vandaryeva as a potential next opponent for the vacant title. She said:

"I think [trying to reclaim the title] is next but it all depends on if I fight Xiong Jingnan. But I'm not sure about that yet. But yes, I would like to get my belt back. I think I will do one more fight in this weight division and leave the belt on my own, not on the scale. I don't like it like that."

She added:

"Ekaterina won her last fight and I haven’t fought her yet so maybe that can be something."

Still, a move up to 135lbs is more palatable for the long term, and Sundell was happy to hear ONE chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong tell Sportskeeda he plans to create a new division, and potentially "within a few months". She concluded:

"Yeah, I think flyweight would be good. I would be stronger. I could put on muscle. And I know there are people out there [to fight t 135lbs]. The strength training I'm doing is basically body workouts because I cannot put on too much weight."

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