When you think of the biggest names in Muay Thai who comes to mind? If you ask most people to name the biggest Muay Thai stars from Thailand they could probably only name 2 or 3 guys. I would guestimate that 90% of the casual fans probably have Buakaw as their favorite Thai fighter and I don’t blame them. Buakaw is an awesome fighter that has done the most for the sport in terms of international exposure.
While it’s great that everybody knows Buakaw’s name, there are a lot of really talented Thai fighters that fight internationally that don’t get the same recognition they deserve. One of my favorite fighters Jomthong Chuwatana, probably doesn’t ring a bell to most fans of the sport, however, if you see him fight, you will immediately see why I consider him one of the best.
Given the fact that there isn’t a Muay Thai equivalent of the UFC that has all of the best fighters under one organization, it can be difficult for the casual fan to know some of the best Thai born Muay Thai fighters currently fighting in the sport.
This is a list of the 10 Muay Thai Fighters that everyone should know. Consider this to be your Muay Thai cheat sheet. All of the top guys are on this list. If you can memorize half of these guys you will know more than 95% of people out there.
All of these fighters are currently active and have fought at the famous Lumpinee or Ratchadamnern stadiums before becoming an international star.
#10: Sagetdao Petpaiyathai
Sagetdao is a Muay Thai fighter who holds the stadium titles at both the famous Lumpinee Boxing Stadium and Ratchadamnern Boxing stadium. He is a Southpaw fighter that has fought and beat some of the best fighters in Thailand including Nong-O, Petboonchu Fa Group, Saenchai and Signdam to name a few. He was the recent winner of the Max Muay Thai 5 event that took place in Kohn Kaen, Thailand. He beat Andrei Kulebin, in the first round and ended up beating rising star Victor Nagbe, to win the tournament in the finals. Sagetdao, recently suffered his first KO loss to Chinese fighter, Qiu Jianliang, in an event that took place in Zhengzhou, China.
Check out Sagetdao’s highlight video here
#9: Singmanee Kaewsamrit
Singmanee is a fighter who utilizes a lot of power to devastate his opponents. He is the former Ratchadamnern Stadium Champion, WMC Champion, and the Isuzu cup champion. Singmanee is a fighter that is constantly facing the best foreigners in the sport and beating them. He has fought some of the top guys including fighters like Sudsakorn Sor Sklinmee, Saiyok and Sittichai Sitsongpeenong. Singmanee is known for his aggression and similar to Saiyok, he is deadly with his hands. If you are looking for another entertaining Thai fighter to watch, make sure you check out some of Singmanee’s fights.
Check out this sick elbow KO from Singmanee here
#8: Saiyok Pumpanmuang
If you haven’t watched Saiyok fight then stop reading and watch some of his highlight videos. He is probably one of the most aggressive Thai fighters on the list – He is always coming forward with big punches and kicks trying to KO his opponents. While Saiyok has found success in the sport today, he experienced his own share of drama in the sport. When he was a rising star in Ratchadamnern Stadium, Saiyok lost a controversial match against Singmanee Sor Srisompong. After the fight the Thai media accused him of throwing the fight (intentionally losing). Following the controversial loss to Singmanee, no promoter wanted Saiyok because he was publicly disgraced by the media. After changing his careers he started selling fruits at the local market. After a brief stint as a fruit merchant, a promoter at Lumpinee stadium decided to take him under his wing and help him return to the sport he loved. Saiyok would go on to win the two Lumpinee titles and would be end up gaining exposure internationally and fighting all over the world.
Check out this sick highlight video of Saiyok here
#7: Jomthong Chuwatana
Jomthong is one of the best boxing Thai fighters currently active in the sport. If you watch his recent destruction of tough Australian fighter Mike 300 then you will know exactly what I am talking about. If you want to see how boxing can be adapted to Muay Thai then you have to watch Jomthong and see how it’s done. Anybody who ever says Thai fighters don’t have good hands needs to watch this guy. He is one of my favorite fighters to watch. Jomthong has fought professionally as a boxer so he definitely has the credentials. Look for more big things from Jomthong in 2014 as he continues to showcase to the world why he is one of the best fighters at 67 kg. Don’t miss his highlight video below.
Check out this awesome Jomthong Highlight video here
#6: Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee
Sudsakorn is hands down one of my favorite Muay Thai fighters. He is a big personality when he’s inside and outside of the ring. Whether he’s making faces at his opponent or daring his opponent to low kick him, he’s great fun to watch. Sudsakorn is an extremely good boxer that utilizes his feints to avoid a lot of incoming damage. He recently fought and beat Saiyok in the Thai Fight Kard Chuek finals in a close match. Sudsakorn is based out of Pattaya, Thailand and his a stable fighter for Thai Fight shows. He has lived in Italy in 2011 and is considered by many to be one of the best Thai fighters at 70 kg.
Check out this highlight video of Sudsakorn here
#5: Kem Sitsongpeenong
Kem is another one of my favorite fighters that’s on this list. Kem holds a number of belts and world titles including the Ratchadamnern belt, WBC belt, WMC belt, and a Toyota Marathon winner. Kem has fought and beaten most of the best in the sport. Before moving to Sitsongpeenong gym, Kem was a stable fighter out of Fairtex and teammate to fellow star Yodsanklai Fairtex. He recently suffered a KO loss at the hands of Victor Nagbe via headkick in the Xtreme Muay Thai event that was held in Hong Kong. Having lost 2 of his last 3 fights, look for Kem to have a strong comeback fight in the coming months as he looks to get his career back on track.
Check out Kem’s highlight video here
#4: Aikpracha Meenayothin
One of the best Thai’s currently fighting in the sport, Aikpracha has been making a global impact in the world of kickboxing. He recently defeated kickboxing fighter Albert Kraus in his Glory Kickboxing debut. His fighting style is to always move forward and never back down from an opponent. He likes to utilize his elbows effectively (A deadly weapon that he is unable to utilize in Glory kickboxing promotion). He currently holds the two prestigious belts in Thailand including the Lumpinee Stadium belt and the Thailand Champion Belt. His last fight was against stand out Belgium fighter Youssef Boughanem which ended in a decision win.
Check out Aikpracha’s highlight video here
#3: Yodsanklai Fairtex
Yod is considered by many to be one of the best Thai fighters above 70kg today. He is a heavy hitting Thai that has what it takes to devastate his opponents. He is a 3 time Lumpinee Stadium Champion that is currently training and fighting out of Fairtex Gym in Pattaya. He became famous by winning the show, “The Contender Asia,” where he fought and beat John Wayne Parr in the finals. Yodsanklai hasn’t lost a fight since 2011 and almost always ends his fights before they go to the judges’ scorecards. He is extremely strong and big for a Thai which helps him utilize his power. Having over 74 knockout wins under his belt, Yod is considered by many to be a Thai fighter that would beat Buakaw if they fought.
Check out this sick highlight video of Yod here
#2: Buakaw Banchamek
Buakaw is the one guy that doesn’t need an introduction. He probably shouldn’t even be on this list because you already know who he is. If you look at youtube clips you will probably notice that Buakaw has millions of views on his youtube clips compared to only thousands of views from his competition. Buakaw is a fighter that has done the most for the sport of Muay Thai in terms of promotion and international exposure. By fighting in K-1, Buakaw was able to showcase Muay Thai to the world. He is by far the most famous Thai fighter that is currently fighting in the sport and is a HUGE brand in Thailand. Buakaw has recently started his own gym and now has his own promotion under his name. Look for Buakaw to continue to capitalize on his popularity in the sport.
Check out Buakaw’s fight highlight video here
Saenchai is another fighter that most of you have heard about before. He is technically one of the best fighters to ever fight in the sport of Muay Thai. He is listed in the top 10 greatest fighters of all time. Saenchai is a guy that will often give up 5-10 kg (10-20lbs) in fights and still win. He has only lost twice to foreigners and both fights were considered controversial (he didn’t actually lose). Saenchai is a technical genius and is fluent in all areas of Muay Thai. Whether he is mesmerizing his opponents with his flashy steps and trick kicks or utilizing his under-appreciated boxing, Saenchai is the man. Out of all the Thai fighters listed on this list, he is the best guy. No one will question that fact.
Check out the legendary Saenchai’s highlight video here
Honorable Mention – 5 More Fighters You Should Know
Thongchai is a young fighter that comes from Sitsongpeenong that has very aggressive elbows and knees. He has already beaten some big names in the sport including a elbow KO win over French star Damien Alamos. At the end of 2013 he recently lost a fight on points to Australian star Toby Smith. Even though Thongchai is still in his teens, he’s shown that he has the potential to beat anybody in the sport. It wouldn’t surprise me if Thongchai overtakes his teammate Kem Sitsongpeenong in the coming years.
Nonsai Sor Sanyakorn
Nonsai is a big Thai fighter that is capable of fighting foreigners at heavier weights. He has an abnormal amount of muscle on him for a Thai and has extremely powerful strikes. He faces all of the top foreigners at the 70-72 kg (154-160) weight category and is very capable of beating the best. Nonsai has a number of world titles and has fought all over the world at different events.
Pornsanae is another Thai fighter that is known for his aggression and his strong low kicks. Pornsanae is the type of fighter that will walk forward the entire fight hunting for the big KO. Sometimes he gets countered when he fights highly technical guys like Kwankao Chor rajapatsaduisarn, who are great evasive counter fighters. Pornsanae recently suffered a controversial loss at the hands of Yetkin Ozkul. Pornsanae’s management was extremely upset after he was KO’ed against the bigger fighter who failed to make the weight of 61.2 kg (132lbs) and instead fought at 72 kg (160lbs). Pornsanae is a great fighter to watch if you like someone who stalks his opponent and moves forward.
Rungravee is a Channel 7 Stadium champion and a MTAA World Muay Thai Champion. He is an extremely short fighter at 1.62m (5’4”) and usually fights smaller sized foreigners around his weight. Rungravee is recently lost his last two fights both by KO. The most recent one was a KO via arm injury to Dean James at Yokkao 8. He is almost always shorter than his opponents regardless of the weight.
If you ever watch a Lion Fight card you will probably notice Malaipet on the card. Malaipet is a Ratchadamnern Stadium Champion and has competed in Muay Thai, MMA and kickboxing. Malaipet has fought most of the big names in North America and has lost his last two fights on the Lion Promotion. Although Malaipet used to be considered as one of the best Thai’s that fought internationally, many consider him to be past his prime. Look for Malaipet to continue to fight on the Lion fight cards in Las Vegas.
Note, if you don’t see your favorite fighter on this list make sure you check out our other lists:
- Top 10 Muay Thai Fighters in Thailand Today
- Top 10 Pound-for-Pound International Fighters
- Top 10 greatest Muay Thai fighters of all time
What Do You Think?
Make sure to leave a comment below and let me know if you agree or disagree with the list above.