Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke has seen and done it all in the realm of Muay Thai, and he’s transitioned his striking skills to the ONE Championship cage to such effect that he even captured the ONE Strawweight World Title.
His rise to glory in the sphere of martial arts started way back in his youth, when his father introduced him to “the art of eight limbs” as a nine-year-old in Thailand.
“We would walk to our neighbour’s house and watch bouts together on TV,” he remembers.
“We talked about our favourite athletes, and the beautiful techniques they showed on screen. It inspired me.”
With a heartfelt passion for the art and a natural aptitude for the skills involved, Amnuaysirichoke resolved to dedicate himself to the sport, but he wasn’t able to walk into a gym and benefit from expert coaching until later in his life.
To begin with, he had to train with whatever he could use, as his family struggled with poverty, with both parents often having to leave the family home to work separate jobs in order to make ends meet.
“I would train at home, kicking an old sack of rice filled with sand,” he said.
“I also trained at the local sala with the other children.”
His tireless work ethic and dedication to his craft saw his skill level rapidly rise, and he eventually stepped through the ropes to make his professional debut. His father, who had supported his passion throughout his journey, was proud, but his mother was unaware of his exploits.
“My mother only found out I was competing when I got inside the ring,” he explained.
“You could just imagine the shock on her face when she saw me getting ready to do my wai kru.
“My mother had no idea I was even competing. She was not the biggest fan of my becoming a Muay Thai competitor.”
His debut saw him pick up a win on points, which spurred him to continue pursuing his passion. His mother soon saw how talented her son was and threw her full support behind his efforts.
Times were still tough for Amnuaysirichoke and, aged just 12, he left home and moved into his trainer’s house with his teammates.
“We made our own makeshift boxing ring,” he said.
“We even wrapped some big trees with cloth so we could practice our teeps (push kicks) on them. This time was a true test for me. It was tough.”
Five years later, he’d moved to Thailand, where he found a place at the famous Lookbanyai team in Bangkok, where he had access to some of the world’s best Muay Thai training. But along with the quality of the training came a lot of hard work, as he explained.
“They did not treat us like kids. We had to kick bags until we could not anymore – it is like they wanted to break us,” he explains, remembering the early years of his development.
“I remember crying before I went to sleep that first month. I was so frustrated. The trainer would get all the bigger guys to spar and clinch with me, and beat me up. It was the most gruelling experience of my life.”
That hard training may have been tough at the time, but it turned a raw young talent into a world-class Muay Thai practitioner who went on to become a legend of the sport.
In a phenomenal Muay Thai career, Amnuaysirichoke captured three Lumpinee Stadium world titles in two weight classes, an Omnoi Stadium title, and a Thai national title. When he decided to switch from Muay Thai to the cage, he did so after amassing an astonishing record of 282-65-3.
“I believe that Muay Thai has given me everything I have ever wanted in life,” said the Thai star.
“Because of Muay Thai, I was able to support my family, and even send my brother to university.”
It also saw him make the move to Singapore, where he’s still an integral part of the famed Evolve MMA team, where he trains and coaches, and also to ONE Championship, where he became the organisation’s first-ever Strawweight World Champion.
Now with a cage record of 8-3, Amnuaysirichoke returns to action at ONE: IRON WILL on Friday, 24 March in Bangkok, Thailand, against Filipino Jeremy Miado (6-2).
Amnuaysirichoke has designs on recapturing the ONE Strawweight Title, and sees a victory over Miado as the next step towards achieving that aim. And he says he plans on taking full advantage of the opportunities ahead of him in his quest to become a world champion once again.
“To be a great martial artist, you have to put your career in your own hands,” he said.
“It is you who has the power to decide whether or not you want to kick bags for a few more rounds, or run three kilometers more because you want to be the best.”