Sagetdao “Deadly Star” Petpayathai may have only competed twice since joining ONE Championship earlier this year, but the 30-year-old Muay Thai legend has faced more than his fair share of battles — both inside and outside of the ring.
After all, he’s got 162 wins and several Muay Thai world championships to his name, and holds wins over some of the greatest to ever step into the ring.
However, as he prepares for his upcoming featherweight clash on 9 December against the Philippines’ Jimmy “The Silencer” Yabo at ONE: WARRIORS OF THE WORLD from the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand, Petpayathai admits he is still in the process of adapting his incredible striking ability for the cage.
Even so, he has dealt with an extraordinary amount of adversity throughout his life, and has always come out on top.
Once, he was even betrayed by someone in his camp, who had bet against Sagetdao and drugged him ahead of a Muay Thai bout several years ago. Fortunately, Petpayathai was able to figure out what was happening before the situation got out of hand, and despite not feeling his best, stood victorious.
Everything Petpayathai battled through during his Muay Thai career has prepared him well for his ONE Championship career, where he is jumping into the deep end of a stacked featherweight division.
The moment he stepped inside the cage, the four-time Lumpinee World Champion had the spotlight on him, because he was already established as one of the most ferocious strikers to enter the cage. Thus far, he has lived up to that reputation.
In his first two bouts, Petpayathai earned a pair of masterful first-round knockouts, with neither opponent making it past the three-minute mark. Most recently, this past September, he used his trademark elbows to TKO Egypt’s Mahmoud Mohamed at ONE CHAMPIONSHIP: SHANGHAI.
“Deadly Star” credits his team at Singapore’s Evolve MMA for helping him make a successful transition from Muay Thai to the cage, and that is what he expects will help him for his upcoming match against Yabo, who will be his most experienced opponent since making his ONE debut this past March.
“The transition has been good,” Petpayathai says. “I have a lot to learn, but I have had a lot of help from the many world champions here at Evolve MMA. Everyone helps each other out, and teaches each other a lot. It is is very different from Muay Thai, with different aspects including the ground game, but I feel comfortable in there.”
As much as Petpayathai would love to add a third knockout to his resume with a win over Yabo at ONE: WARRIORS OF THE WORLD, he is only willing to promise that he is going to show up and give his absolute best.
“I am comfortable in my abilities, and I know when I get into the cage, I will give my all,” he offers. “I am looking forward to the match and excited for the challenge.”
Petpayathai may still be learning, but it’s been impossible to tell with his spectacular performances to date. On 9 December, the Thai superstar will attempt to remain perfect inside the cage, and continue his quest to once again become a World Champion.