Many of Muay Thai fighters have come and gone and asking who the all-time best is, is as good as asking how old is the sport itself.
Muay Thai has a very long history of fighters who have made the sport very proud. Among whom is the legendary Nai Khanomtom, a Thai prisoner of war in Burma who uses his Muay Thai techniques to thrash every opponent that the Burmese king threw at him.
According to the story, in 1774, the king of the Burmese empire held a 7-day (religious ceremony) event to what could be described as today’s MMA tournament. Throughout the seven day event, the king wanted to show off his country’s boxing prowess (Lethwei – Burmese Boxing) against the Thai’s boxing (Muay Thai)
The event includes the best of Burmese fighters against prisoners of war from Thailand. It was at this event that the legendary Nai Khanomtom – a Muay Thai soldier was discovered.
It was recorded that Nai Khanomtom’s first fight against his Burmese opponent happens to be an easy walkover, and the referee and spectators could not believe their eyes as the Burmese fighter was stretched out with the referee insisting that the Burmese fighter was distracted by Nai Khanomtom Wai Kru or pre-fight dance.
To make matters even worse, the Muay Thai techniques prove so useful that the Thai prisoners plummeted the Burmese fighters into submissions to the extent that the spectators at the event believe that the pre-fight dance was black magic to render the Burmese fighters incapable.
To prove that the Thai prisoners were not bewitching their opponent, the king requested another champion from his country to challenge Khanomtom. After a few minutes, his champion was also stretched out, and so it was that the king brought in 8 more champions with no rest period in between, and Khanomtom knocked out every single one of them.
After running out of champions, the king was, in his quote, said, “Every part of the Siamese is blessed with venom. Even with his bare hands, he can fell nine or ten opponents.”
And ever since then, the Muay Thai dynasty has grown in popularity.
See also: Best Muay Thai Heavy Bags
So Who is the Best Muay Thai Fighter of All Time?
Over the years, Muay Thai has witnesses countless brave fighters that have, in one way or another, affected the sport. What makes a list much more challenging to assemble is the fact that there are just too many great fighters that have graced the terrain. In this guide, we will mention only 6 of the greatest all-time fighters that have graced the Muay Thai MMA championships.
Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn
One of the best Muay Thai fighters of all time is Dieselnoi. Dieselnoi is to Muay Thai, just like Michael Jordan is to basketball.
He was so ruthless with opponents in the ring that it got to a point nobody was brave enough to challenge him. He has to relinquish his title because there was no challenger.
Dieselnoi could very well be called a giant considering the average height in his country. Standing at 6’2″ (1.88 m), “The Little Diesel” as he’s fondly called weigh an impossible 135 lbs (60 kg), he is more a skinny walking corpse. He’s striking, especially from his elbows and knees on his opponents, is like been beaten with a baseball bat.
Dieselnoi knew how to fight using his size, skill, and intelligence, including using his height to his advantage. He was a master of clinch wrestling and could use his height to weigh down on opponent yanking them around the ring from side to side and would not let go all the while hitting his opponent with his deadly knee strikes.
He knew how to hit with the knee so ferocious that he makes it very difficult for his opponents to escape his grips.
Watching him train with fluidity and gracefulness can send chills down your spine, knowing that those strikes are meant for a human being. You could tell the way he hits the bags during training that he was made to bash bodies.
In 1981, it was with this devastating knee blows that he won the Lumpinee Stadium Lightweight Championship
For the next two years, after he won his championship, no other Muay Thai fighter agreed to face him in the ring, and so he was forced to give up his title due to nobody wanting to fight him.
After running out of opponents, Dieselnoi ‘hanged his gloves’ at the tender age of 25. His overall record is said to be 110 wins, forty by knockouts, ten losses, and two draws.
Saenchai is one athlete that tried changing the MMA tournaments. He was one of the rare talents that do what many fighters thought impossible and make it look effortless.
His time saw the sport getting to an all-time high with his technical abilities to subdue his opponents. There is no doubt that Saenchai is the most gifted technical fighter that has graced the scene. Saenchai is a man that has a weakness that no soul was able to discover.
Not only is his creativity a note to mention, but his ring violence is also unmatched. He has uniques ways of setting up his attack and delivery strikes to opponents that makes you think you are watching a video game
His movement in the ring can be compared to a fly buzzing nonchalantly around your head with no fear whatsoever, and every time you try to swat the fly away, it swerves away with ease time after time. This is how fighting Saenchai is like; the difference is that this little fly can hit back often with deadly blows.
Best Muay Thai Fighters in MMA
Call him the fearless “cowboy,” and you won’t be far from the truth, this guy is a favorite. The reason he got on the list is that Donald Cerrone can stand and compete with the best of them. His background as a black belter in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu adds up to his profile.
He is known for his vicious switch kick technique that has crushed many opponents and is considered by many as a classic Muay Thai kick. He is regarded as a real Muay Thai warrior and a champion of his time because he sticks to his Muay Thai roots.
When it comes to mentioning fighters with the best clinch techniques, Darren Till will fit in the description very well. Grounded in advance Muay Thai culture, he is considered the clinch master and a dangerous fighter to watch out for. He has competed in several Muay Thai fights leaving his opponent devastated with his killer strikes. No wonder he is fondly referred to as “The Gorrila” because of his killer strikes and clinches techniques. His size and length also contribute to what will make him a future UFC champion
Accepting Jose Aldo into the list of the greatest MMA fighter with a Muay Thai background shouldn’t cause anybody unwanted grey hair. It will be incomplete as a guide if his name is found missing in this list. Aldo is an inspiration to many would-be MMA or Muay Thai trainee as he is considered the master of the low-kick. I believe every fan has followed this guy must have loved the way he executes his kicks to punish his opponents. His low kick techniques have ultimately helped him dominate many fights inside the ring and turned attackers to defenseless fighters.
So Who Is The Best Muay Thai Fighter In MMA?
The list is not extensive, so all names mentioned here were names that we believe many people will agree with considering the impacts these athletes made in Muay Thai sport. All fighters mentioned in this list have shown what it takes to be champions and be successful in both MMA and Muay Thai fighting. It’s just thrilling to see a cross over of these fighters and seeing them make a success in their new chosen sport.
So there you have it, the best of the best in Muay Thai and probably considered as the godfathers in the game. These names have one way, or another contributed to the success of this game and have raised the bar higher to new levels and leaving behind them legacies that will be long remembered even after they hanged up their gloves.
The selection was not the easiest to do, and I’m sure many people reading this will make important arguments for adding their favorite fighters. However, the impact these names we’ve mentioned have had on Muay Thai is beyond reproach.