A short history of ONE Championship's Super Series
ONE shines a light on the art of striking.
Muay Thai and kickboxing are two of the foundational striking disciplines of MMA and have produced champions every bit as skilled and exciting as a Mike Tyson or a Manny Pacquiao.
A casual fight fan could be forgiven for not being aware of any of the top practitioners in these disciplines due to a lack of access to Glory kickboxing or tickets to Bangkok’s Lumpinee Stadium where the best of the best ply their trade.
But that all changed last year when ONE Championship began its Super Series and gave fans everywhere access to the best pure strikers on the planet. Suddenly we were all able to watch the work of formerly niche Thai superstars like Rodtang Jitmuangnon and Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, as well as top-level Europeans like Giorgio Petrosyan and Nieky Holzken.
Almost immediately we were treated to incredible performances like Sam-A Gaiyanghadao pummeling Sergio Wielzen with elbows to win ONE's first-ever flyweight Muay Thai title. Or Smokin' Jo Nattawut putting the hurt on Yohan Drei.
But it wasn’t just the established names that impressed as the Super Series introduced the world to breakout stars like Stamp Fairtex and Jonathan Haggerty.
One side benefit of the incorporation of these styles into an MMA context has been the use of lighter 4-ounce MMA gloves over the standard 16-ounce variety. With less leather to hide behind, ONE's slight variation on the kickboxing theme has arguably made for more exciting matchups as aggression is rewarded.
ONE's Super Series has gone from strength to strength. It has established six champions across seven divisions and awarded Giorgio Petrosyan the million dollar prize in the action packed kickboxing Grand Prix.
These champions are rapidly turning into household names and the super series has become the premier competition for pure striking the world over. And it isn’t even two years old.