Muay Thai becomes more and more popular. Not necessarily here (it even gets cut out of school curriculums) but certainly in many other countries. Thai superstars compete on a global scale quite frequently by now and lots of Western fighters are coming to the country to learn the Art that is Muay Thai from the very best.
If you want to look smart while talking Muay Thai with your friends you might want to drop a few names here and there. Here are 10 of the fighters that you definitely should know.
1. Buakaw Banchamek
Well. That is more or less a no-brainer. In case you haven’t been living under a rock for the past couple of years you know Buakaw. He’s the chosen one right now and represents Thailand in most international bouts of prestige. He’s the one to beat and widely considered (outside of Thailand) the best Muay Thai fighter on the planet.
2.) Yodsanklai Fairtex
“Yod” how he is called here in Thailand is gaining a lot of momentum as of late since he mostly destroys his opponents with his devastating kicks. He’s quite charismatic and certainly knows how to wow and work the crowd and his fans. When you ask a Thai fighter about their current idols or favorite fighters Yod’s name will surely be in the hat.
If you haven’t seen Saenchai yet, go do it! His style is pretty entertaining and he always seem to go for the kill while rocking his trademark ‘matrix’ maneuver and the leg take down. For the time being he’s the other one on the list of ‘best Thai fighters’ when asking around the gyms here in Thailand.
4.) Fabio Pinca
Let’s switch to a foreign fighter, meaning a non Thai national. Fabio however has been fighting in Thailand for a long time and pretty much adopted lots of the Thai style of fighting. That’s why he is so accepted within the community and even cheered for during his fights. He went toe to toe with some of the best and can certainly be considered a recognizable force in Muay Thai.
5.) Victor Nagbe
Victor hasn’t been fighting for as long as some of the others but certainly made an impact in the scene. He also already managed to fight the best of the best and only came short against some of the biggest names on this list. On the other hand he also managed to win lots of important fights and that’s exactly why many experts still consider him one of the future fighters to look out for.
I don’t mean that disrespectful to mention the female fighters in the second half. Just to make that sure. I had to start with one so I started with Buakaw first since he’s the most famous fighter and then took it from there. Just to make that clear and not to get my ass kicked by the girls on this list! :-)
6.) Iman Barlow
Iman Barlow. Nicknamed the ‘pretty killer’. And that name says it all. She’s fast, she’s wild, she’s fun to watch. She made quite an impact so far but is far from having unleashed her full potential. One can only guess and be curious to see what she will be accomplish in the near future.
7.) Chommanee Sor Taehiran
Chommanee is probably the female fighter with most recognition in Thailand right now. She’s always friendly, smiling, good looking and, obviously, successful. One of the female Muay Thai Flagships in the area and more than capable of carrying that torch for some longer time.
8.) Za Za Sor Aree
ZaZa used to be a World Champion before she stopped fighting for a while. Now she is working on a comeback and looks to continue where she left of. She even fought in Japan’s Shoot Boxing events – an MMA style organization where everything goes. That shows you how tough she is and that she has to be reckoned with when stepping back into ring.
9.) Jade Sirisompan
Jade is on a kind of sabbatical now since she is improving her overall skills while also pursing studies in Kineseolgy in the United States. Before she left she made quite an impression in the ring though, and not only because she posed next to Tony Jaa (and who can say that about himself?!). Once she’s back she’ll certainly be a female fighter to watch out for.
10.) Saifah Sor Suparat
Saifah is another star on the female Muay Thai Fighter heaven here in Thailand. She rocked the bantam weight for quite a while now and is always good for some entertaining bouts. Many consider her fights with “Namtarn” to be some of the best female fights in recent memory.
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