“I Had to Become a Man” – Luke Lessei Recalls the Challenges and Sacrifices He Went Through to Pursue Muay Thai Excellence

Published 12/08/2023, 1:09 AM EST

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Luke Lessei didn’t have a typical childhood, but it helped shape the man he is today. 

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The American striker is set to make his ONE Championship debut in a featherweight Muay Thai battle against “Smokin” Jo Nattawut at ONE Fight Night 17: Kryklia vs. Roberts this Friday, December 8, inside the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, and he’s been reflecting on his journey ahead of the pivotal bout. 

”I am happy I didn’t do that” – Luke Lessei

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Lessei grew up in his father’s gym, so training has always been part of his life. Thus, he was busy perfecting his craft in his teenage years instead of socializing with his peers. 

In a recent interview with ONE, the 27-year-old said that though he may have missed out on a few things, he doesn’t think that it was a waste. 

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“I’m gone every Friday night. Every Saturday morning, I’m at the gym. So, like, I wanted to party a little bit. I mean, I’m from the Midwest, you know, there’s not anything to do here. Everyone here just drinks and parties, you know, there’s nothing to do. So I wanted to at least let loose and be a kid a little bit,” Lessei recalled.

 

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“That was probably the hardest thing [to miss out on]. But then, looking back, it’s like, yeah, that stuff was dumb. I’m happy I didn’t do that.”

He strived to be the best fighter in his dad’s gym growing up, and he did so before dominating the amateur ranks. But Lessei always believed there was room for him to grow. 

Read More: WATCH:- Nong-O Gaiyanghadao Flatlines Felipe Lobo in the Third Round With an Uppercut From Hell to Retain His Belt at ONE X

As such, he left his comfort zone to train and develop his skills elsewhere. 

“The Chef” will look to beat Jo Nattawut in his debut match

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“I had to go find myself. I had to go find my own style. I was fighting exactly how my dad wanted to fight me for a really long time. And it’s funny enough, this was the hardest time, but also, I grew the most within this amount of time, because I was like, ‘Whoa, I really am figuring out how I want to fight,’” said “The Chef.” 

“And the hardest time of not being able to train with my dad, but then figuring out… it was time to graduate from my dad. Eventually, I had to become a man.”

Lessei will look to make good on all his sacrifices and focus when he steps into his first outing in ONE this Friday. And with a fiery opponent like Nattawut, the American star could make a massive statement with a win.

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Read More: Chingiz Allazov Wins the ONE Championship Featherweight World Grand Prix With a Dominant Victory Over Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong

The all-Muay Thai card at ONE Fight Night 17 will be broadcast live and for free via Prime Video for fans across North America on Friday, December 8.

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Written by:

Anirban Chatterjee

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I am Anirban, an MMA enthusiast with the opportunity to combine my fascination for the sport with my professional adventures as a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. Apart from being a professional athlete, MMA and Soccer are sports that I have always enjoyed following. I am a huge fan of ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor, and Israel Adesanya.
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Edited by:

Joyita Das

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