An Interview with a World Champion!

Yodsanan Sityodtong, WBA Boxing World Champion with a record of 58-3 with 48 KOs, will be making his professional MMA debut at ONE Fighting Championship on September 3, 2011 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. As a member of the Evolve Fight Team, he will be stepping onto the biggest stage in Asia for his pro MMA debut.

When did you move to Singapore / why?
I moved to Singapore to teach and train at Evolve MMA. I train in BJJ, MMA, and Muay Thai. I teach Boxing here. Chatri and I are from the same camp (Sityodtong) in Thailand. Our teacher is Kru Yodtong Senanan. So it was easy for me to come to Singapore because I know everyone already.

Do you miss Thailand?
I miss my family. My wife and my kids are everything to me. They plan to move to Singapore soon.

Has having so many other Thais around helped you to settle in?
Yes of course. There are so many Thai instructors and fighters here at Evolve MMA. So it was easy for me. They are all my brothers.  Also, Singapore is quite similar to Thailand in terms of food and weather. And the people in Singapore are very warm and nice. I love Singapore!

Have you retired from boxing?
No, I have not retired from boxing yet. I train every day and I never stop since I was a child. Training is in my blood. My body is like I am 25 because I take good care of it. I have never smoked or drank alcohol ever in my life. Fighting is my love. This is what I was born to do. I train and run and train every day. I was supposed to fight 3 times last year, but each time it was canceled. In Asia, it is quite hard for me to find an opponent. No one wants to fight me. But I will fight anyone, anywhere. I am not afraid of any man.

Manny Pacquiao fought Fahsan 3k battery in 2004 who was around the same weight as you at the time. Were you ever close to fighting Pacquiao? Was it ever talked about?
Yes, our managers talked all the time for this fight. I wanted to fight Manny. He and I were considered the best pound for pound fighters in Asia. It is unfortunate that politics stopped us from ever meeting in the ring. He's a great fighter and I would still like to fight him. He is the best of all time and it would be an honor for me to compete against him. In my dreams, Don King calls and makes a fight between me and Manny!

Do you regret not having fought Pacquiao or do you feel relieved?
Fighting is my life. I love to fight and to challenge myself. I am not afraid of anyone. I have always wanted to fight Manny, but the promoters or managers did not make it happen. Before I retire, I would like to fight Manny.

When did you start learning MMA?
I have been doing MMA and BJJ for the last 2 years. It is a very fun sport and I love it too. People know me as a World Champion in Boxing, but I also used to be a professional Muay Thai fighter in Thailand too. I have had over 60 professional Muay Thai fights in addition to my 60+ professional boxing fights. So I already have the MMA striking part quite well. And for BJJ, I train every day 2-4 hours per day with our BJJ Black Belts and our BJJ World Champions here at Evolve MMA.

Do you enjoy training MMA?
Yes, I love MMA. MMA training is different. The cage training that we do is very hard. I am used to a ring. But fighting is fighting. I love fighting...I love competing...I love the challenge of seeing what I can do with my mind and body. I want to fight in the UFC one day is possible.

You fought on Madison Squard Garden a few years ago, did you ever think you would fight on a big show like ONE Fighting Championship again?
In life, you never know when is a peak or when is a valley. As a fighter, you can only control how hard you train in the gym and how hard you fight in the ring. Thank you to Chatri for giving me this opportunity to fight on Asia's biggest show.  Evolve is in my heart.  Chatri is our leader.  And we will follow him everywhere.   I am very excited for ONE Fighting Championship. I want to show people the real Thai fighting spirit and the beauty of Sityodtong Camp (where Chatri and I learned to fight)

Do your friends and family in Thailand have ESPN Star Sports? Will they be watching you fight?
Yes, it is big news in Thailand. I think the whole country will be watching. Here in Singapore, no one knows me. But in Thailand, I am a national hero.

There have been a few articles about you in the Thai media, have you been getting a lot of phone calls and messages from Thailand?
Yes, but I already know how to deal with fame. At the pinnacle of my boxing career, it was super crazy...everybody was throwing themselves at me. I have learned to trust my inner circle only. My family is the Evolve Family. I trust my brothers and sisters at Evolve.

What do people in Thailand think of MMA? Do they understand it and are they interested in it?
MMA is a young sport in Thailand. So people don't know much about it. But they know me as a world champion boxer. So now, they will see me as a pro MMA fighter and it will introduce them to the sport. Thai people have fighting in their blood. Thailand is a fighting nation. So I think MMA will be big one day.

A lot of Thai fighters worry that they will get injured if they do MMA, is this something you think about?
I am not afraid of any man. Fighting is my love. I am professional fighter. I have no fear. I love the action. Whatever happens in the ring is destiny.

Any predictions for September 3rd? Are you hoping for a KO?
Everyone knows that I have one punch KO power. With the 4oz MMA gloves, it means my power will only be greater. But I want to show the world that I am an MMA fighter. I will show them my BJJ, my wrestling, my Muay Thai, and of boxing. I want to win by KO or submission. My opponent is very tough - he's a Muay Thai champion. I am ready for anything.

Evolve Mixed Martial Arts® is Asia's premier brand of MMA academies. With World Champions in Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing, and No Gi Grappling, Evolve MMA is the top martial arts training organization in Asia. It ranks among the best martial arts academies in the world.