The Greatest Muay Thai Fighter of All Time

In Thailand, there is only one (1) superhero of Muay Thai who is recognized as the greatest Muay Thai fighter of all time. You can ask any taxi driver in Thailand about him. The incredible thing is that almost everyone in Thailand will give you the same answer if you ask them who the greatest Muay Thai fighter of all time is. He is the Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan of Muay Thai. His name is Samart Payakaroon. And Samart is the closest thing to a superhero in Thailand.

Here is some food for thought to give you some perspective. One of our Lumpinee Muay Thai World Champions, Nuengpichit Sityodtong, is considered one of the top fighters of his era. Nueng says that Samart is 10x better than anyone that has ever fought in Muay Thai, including all the fighters of today. In fact, Nuengpichit says that he feels like a beginner next to Samart.

How crazy is that? If you are an Evolve student, you know how unbelievable Nueng is as a World Champion.

In his prime, Samart was untouchable and simply brilliant. He was a Lumpinee Muay Thai World Champion in four (4) weight divisions. He even fought in western Boxing for fun and managed to become WBC World Champion in that too. Then Samart went on to have a lucrative career as a Thai pop star and actor. Incredibly, he won the Thai versions of the Oscars and Grammys too.

So what made Samart so special as a fighter? He certainly was not the hardest kicker. He was not even the hardest puncher. And Samart did not like knees that much. Yet, he is considered the greatest Muay Thai fighter of all time by the Thai media and public. Samart was special because he had the gift of the sharpest eyes in the history of the sport. He was unhittable. Samart could read an opponent's kick or punch and avoid them by half an inch. He had lightning speed and he could throw the most complicated moves in Muay Thai with ease. To watch Samart in action is to truly witness Muay Thai at its greatest art form.

If you ever make it to Thailand, we recommend that you try to find his old fights on DVD. Samart's peak was in the 1980s. The Evolve Muay Thai Instructor Team still watches his fights on a regular basis.

Samart Payakaroon was and still is Kru Yodtong Senanan's most famous World Champion. As many of you know already, Kru Yodtong Senanan is considered the greatest Grandmaster of Muay Thai in Thailand for producing the most World Champions in the history of Muay Thai. Here is Kru Yodtong's biography. The Evolve Muay Thai Instructor Team interviewed Kru Yodtong Senanan for this article. (The Evolve Muay Thai Instructor Team speaks to Kru Yodtong every few weeks). Here is what Kru Yodtong had to say about Samart.

"Without a doubt, Samart is the most talented Muay Thai fighter to have ever graced this earth and the Sityodtong Gym. My other World Champions were all good, but Samart was exceptional. But it wasn't always this way. When Samart was 11 years old, he would always get into trouble by me. Samart was lazy and he did not have a warrior's heart. He did not like to get hit and was always afraid of getting hurt in the ring. In fact, Samart probably has the smallest heart out of all of my World Champions. The weapon that changed Samart's career forever was his push kick. Once I taught him how to use it as an offensive weapon, his opponents could no longer hit him. I made Samart practice two hundred (200) push kicks against a wall at the end of each training day. To this day, Samart's push kick is rated as the best of all time. Samart also had the most amazing reflexes in the world. There are countless times when an opponent would throw a head kick at full speed and force at him from only one (1) meter away and Samart would effortlessly avoid it. His eyes were one (1) in a billion. He saw everything before things happened. The other aspect that made Samart amazing was his speed. He could throw kicks, punches, knees, and elbows at lightning speed. Samart would knock people out on sheer speed. Samart had the uncanny ability to put together the most unique combinations and the most difficult techniques in Muay Thai. I am 72 years old and have been doing Muay Thai for over 55 years. Sadly, I do not think there will ever be another Samart again. He was truly a gift to the Thai people."
-Kru Yodtong Senanan

As you can see, Samart Payakaroon is the greatest legend of Muay Thai.

The exciting news at Evolve is that Samart Payakaroon will be here at Evolve Mixed Martial Arts to teach a Muay Thai seminar at the end of June. So you do not have to take this article as gospel. You can see for yourself how amazing he is. As a special treat, Samart will also conduct an open sparring session with our World Champions and you will see how much better he is than they are. Stay tuned for more details on this once-in-a-lifetime seminar with Thailand's Greatest Muay Thai Fighter of all time.

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