There have been many significant bouts booked over the years that have carried the title of “superfight,” but few have fully lived up to the hype.
But the upcoming clash between Muay Thai superstar Rodtang Jitmuangnon and former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson offers genuine intrigue and excitement as two of the very best from two different martial arts disciplines go head to head in a special hybrid-rules matchup.
The bout will take place at ONE X, with a special ruleset formulated to help bring the best out of both men and even the playing field between the Muay Thai ace and the pound-for-pound MMA great.
The bout will be contested over four three-minute rounds, with Rounds 1 and 3 taking place under Muay Thai rules, while Rounds 2 and 4 will be played out under ONE’s global MMA ruleset.
It means that, if Johnson can survive a first round against a fresh Rodtang under Muay Thai rules, he’ll get the chance to impose his wider-ranging skillset against the Thai striker in the second stanza.
If both men are still standing after the first two rounds, the formula will repeat again.
The bout will pit ONE’s most spectacular Muay Thai striker against a man considered by many to be the greatest pound-for-pound athlete in MMA history.
Rodtang is, quite simply, spectacular. The five-foot-six from Bangkok is the current ONE flyweight Muay Thai world champion, and has racked up more than 300 professional victories in his career to date. He is unbeaten under the ONE Championship banner since joining the promotion’s all-striking league, ONE Super Series, back in 2018.
Known to his fans as “The Iron Man,” Rodtang’s fearless approach and willingness to test his toughness – and his chin – against any other striker in the world, has made him a superstar in his native Thailand, and his exploits for ONE Championship have showcased his fan-friendly fighting style to a worldwide audience.
He’ll take on Johnson, the inaugural UFC flyweight champion who defended his 125-pound title a record 11 times before swapping the octagon for the ONE Championship circle and a new challenge in Asia.
Fighting for ONE’s flyweight division, which operates 10 pounds heavier than the UFC’s weight class, “Mighty Mouse” captured gold in the ONE Championship Flyweight Grand Prix with wins over Yuya Wakamatsu, Tatsumitsu Wada and Danny Kingad.
But Johnson’s tilt at ONE flyweight world champion Adriano Moraes ended in a stunning defeat as he was TKO’d by “Mikinho” at ONE on TNT 1, thanks to a knee from the Brazilian to the grounded “Mighty Mouse” – a technique that is illegal under the unified rules adopted by the UFC, but legal under ONE’s global ruleset.
Now Johnson is looking to bounce back, and has accepted the unique challenge of a cross-codes fight with Rodtang in a bout that looks sure to deliver fireworks on December 5.
“There is no way this fight is going to go the distance,” said ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong.
“Does Rodtang have what it takes to knock out DJ in three minutes? Does DJ have what it takes to submit Rodtang in three minutes?
“This is going to be a really exciting fight for the fans.”