Martial arts, a vast realm of diverse disciplines, has witnessed countless legends grace its stages. Each martial artist crafts a unique story, echoing with tales of sweat, blood, and relentless determination. Jonathan Haggerty, recognized widely for his stellar prowess in Muay Thai, stands on the cusp of adding a riveting chapter to his already illustrious tale.
Bangkok’s venerated Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, a Mecca for fight enthusiasts, is set to host a duel on November 3rd that promises to be etched in its rich history. On this day, Haggerty doesn’t step into the ring as the familiar Muay Thai prodigy; he ventures into the domain of kickboxing, armed with ambition and a drive to conquer new horizons. In his path stands Fabricio Andrade, the dominant ONE bantamweight MMA world champion. Esteemed for his knockout capabilities, Andrade doesn’t just bring a championship title into the ring, but a legacy of intimidation.
Venturing from Muay Thai to kickboxing might seem like a hop across a narrow stream for those unacquainted with the intricacies of martial arts. However, in reality, it’s akin to crossing a turbulent river. But Haggerty’s self-assured demeanor paints a picture of quiet confidence. Reflecting on his transition in an interview with ONE Championship, he elucidated, “I’m so confident. Moving into the kickboxing discipline. You know, I’m a fighter. I can adapt. And I feel like my footwork is mainly like a kickboxer anyway. So that’s what’s on my side also. So yeah, just the main thing is I’m a fighter and I can adapt to anything. So I’m excited.”
His confidence finds its roots in past triumphs. Rewind seven months, and the hallowed grounds of the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium resonated with cheers celebrating Haggerty’s astounding victory over Nong-O Hama. That night, he not only secured a first-round knockout but also laid claim to the ONE bantamweight Muay Thai world title. A conquest over Andrade would not only be another feather in his cap but would elevate him to the esteemed echelon of two-sport world champions.
Conversely, Fabricio Andrade is no stranger to challenges. Sporting an undefeated streak of six battles and a staggering 83% finish rate, Andrade harbors ambitions beyond just defending his title. He aspires to etch his name in the annals of ONE Championship by simultaneously reigning supreme in both MMA and kickboxing.
Beyond the looming clash, Haggerty’s retrospective lens also focuses on bygone battles, most notably with Superlek Kiatmoo9. Their rivalry dates back to a 2018 skirmish at Yokkao. In a candid conversation with the South China Morning Post, Haggerty remarked, “I mean it’s always been on the cards. It’s always been a name that I want to fight again, Superlek. You know, he cut me once now. I want to try and cut him. I feel like once he comes to the bantamweight division, he’s got a little bit to prove. So once he gets through someone in the division, then yeah, I’m always up for a fight.”
A dive into Haggerty’s early life unravels layers of his character. Hailing from England, his boyhood days weren’t spent shadowboxing but rather chasing a football. An introspective moment in his youth, as revealed in a chat with FirstSportz MMA, led him to a crossroads: a choice between football pitches and fighting rings. Reflecting on this transformative decision, Haggerty mused, “I grew up originally playing football. I enjoyed football, but, unfortunately, you can’t do both sports. I knew that growing up I needed to choose one and I don’t know why, but I chose to get punched in the face for a living, but it is paying off now.”
Haggerty, with his Muay Thai expertise melded with freshly sharpened kickboxing skills, prepares to face Andrade, an MMA titan.