After establishing himself as one of the most decorated Muay Thai practitioners in history, Sagetdao Petpayathai has embarked on a new journey.

Recognised as one of the greatest fighters of his era, with more than 160 professional victories, the multiple-time Muay Thai world champion is now ready to carry over his wealth of combat experience into the world of mixed martial arts.

Petpayathai will face Malaysia’s Kelvin Ong in his MMA debut on the undercard of ONE: Warrior Kingdom, which takes place at the Impact Arena in Bangkok on 11 March.

Currently teaching and sharing his skills as a trainer at Evolve MMA, the challenge of entering the MMA world seems to be inevitable for Petpayathai, who is always looking for something to improve on both as a competitor and a person.

“I can’t wait to represent Thailand and showcase the power of Muay Thai inside the cage. Fighting is in my blood. I love challenges, and I want to be successful in MMA as well,” Petpayathai says.

DESPITE LIVING IN POVERTY, I DIDN’T LOOK AT IT AS A HINDRANCE TO REACH MY DREAMS.

“My knowledge and competitive experience will definitely help me to be successful in this new journey.”

In deep training for his three-round featherweight encounter with Ong, the 30-year-old Maha Sarakham native did not mince words about his excitement to enter the MMA cage for the first time.

“I’m very excited. Training camp is going very well. Learning other martial arts disciplines has been a fun challenge. I’m improving daily. I can’t wait to show my MMA skills in front of my countrymen on March 11. Some Muay Thai clinches translate to a ground game, and I’m lucky to have so many Jiu-Jitsu world champions in my camp,” he stated.

“I’m focusing on all disciplines that are necessary in MMA like Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling. I want to continue to improve and become a better MMA fighter,” Petpayathai added.

While Petpayathai pins his hopes on a triumphant transition to MMA, his Malaysian foe seeks the spoil the party by furnishing a statement win over the celebrated Muay Thai world champion.

Ong, who has a professional MMA record of 1-0 and is fighting under the tutelage of AJ “Pyro” Lias Mansor at Borneo Tribal Squad, will be making his promotional debut under the ONE Championship banner.

Ong targets to notch his second-straight victory as a pro and establish a winning streak in his young MMA career as he shares the ONE Championship cage with Petpayathai.

“I’m expecting a good challenge. He is a strong fighter. I can’t wait to meet him inside the cage. I can’t wait on putting a good show in front of my countrymen,” Petpayathai said of the marquee match-up with Ong.

Before reaching the top of the Muay Thai world, the path to success had been a rough ride for Petpayathai. Living in poverty at a tender age, supporting his family became his main motivation to succeed.

Petpayathai used competitive fighting for a living in his hometown in Maha Sahakram, Northern Thailand. He fought around 100 times over the course of seven years.

“To support my family and to succeed in life have been my motivation when I was young. Despite living in poverty, I didn’t look at it as a hindrance to reach my dreams,” Petpayathai stressed.

“If you have your goals and if you really want to reach it, anything is possible.”

According to Petpayathai, he would like to be an inspiration to everyone, especially to the youth, as each dream starts with a small little step.

As a fighter, Petpayathai believes that there will always be an area to improve on and new things to learn in life.

“Fighting taught me a lot of things in life. I ​want to be remembered as someone who never gave up​ and reached his goals no matter what the circumstances are​,” he ended.