Let’s look at the facts – will you ever be at the level of Muay Thai as some of the greats like Ramon Dekkers or Sanchai? Probably not, but I’m not saying you can’t be good at Muay Thai. It is just hard to be at their level in the Muay Thai game, and that’s okay. However, with enough training you can become your best.
One thing I have learned over the years of fighting myself and watching fights first hand, is just because one fighter is better on paper or has an impressive record, does not guarantee them the victory. There have been many times when a fighter with poor technique has edged out someone that was more technical in fights and came away with a victory.
This is one of the things that has helped me fall in love with fighting. Success is dependent on the individual to train regularly and put in a lot of hard work. As a fighter, you cannot blame any outside circumstances when it comes time to step into the ring. As a fighter, you are the one that has control over the way your training goes.
When I was still fighting as an amateur, I was matched with a kid named Vlod, he was an extremely experienced guy from Romania. He was a Golden Gloves boxer in his country and since he stepped on the Muay Thai scene in Florida he had been cleaning house. He was 7-0 with 7 Knockouts. I had a total of about 10 fights at the time, I was 6-4 as an amateur and on paper he should have KO’d me in 2 rounds. That’s because none of his fights to that point went 3 rounds. Through heart and determination by the end of round 3, I walked away with the victory. How? Well, lucky for you I have outlined the steps it takes to achieve a victory over someone that may be “better than you.”
Step 1 Have better cardio You need to work your tail off to get your stamina to last at least 10 rounds. You don’t want to be 3 rounds in, in a 5 round fight and struggling to breathe due to the fact that your cardio sucks. Regardless of how good you are, all fighters fight differently when they are tired.
In the great words of Vince Lombardi, “Fatigue makes cowards of all men.”
Step 2 Constant pressure Let’s assume your cardi is great. Well now you need to take advantage of that and keep constant pressure on your opponent. You want to wear them down with your skill and pressure. That doesn’t mean that you will throw 1,000 punches in 30 seconds. It just means you will keep pressure on them through the round. They are going to try and do the same, so be ready.
Step 3 Strong defense If you are fighting someone better than you, you are going to take a lot of shots. You don’t want to expose yourself to a point where you stick your chin up and next thing you know you are waking up on the canvas. You need to keep a tight guard and make each combination count for damage on the opponent.
Step 4 Be scrappy This is not going to be a point game where you can just sit back and try to win on points. You will need to go all in and throw longer combinations and continue to keep constant pressure on the opponent. Ever heard the term, punches in bunches?
Step 5 Be mentally strong I believe this one is more important than the others. If you don’t believe that you have a chance to beat a better opponent, then you don’t stand a chance to walk away with a victory. Being mentally strong is as important as all the other steps combined. You must 100% believe in your head that without a doubt that you are going to win. You are about to go to war and you will need that confidence, especially in the later rounds.
Final thoughts: At the end of the day all of these tips still do not guarantee you a win. You might have heart, stamina, strong defense and be mentally strong but a good experienced fighter knows how to weather the storm. The truth about fighting is you win, and you lose – this is how you learn. You have these guys that only care about their records so they will pick and choose their fights in order to have the best chance to win. They never really test their real skill because they will always match themselves with someone at or below their level. How do you know how good you are if you have never really been tested?
The truth is yes winning feels great, but I have always learned more from my losses then from my wins. Don’t get me wrong, I still like to win. You can’t control how good your opponent is, but you can control how hard you train and how much preparation, time and skills that you put into yourself when you are training. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Fighting is about learning and improving, not just about winning. Winning is the bonus you get due to all the work and effort that you put in. Remember Muay Thai is still a martial art and it’s a lifetime journey not a destination.
As always, train hard, be a beast!
Published: March 20, 2023