“I Was Kind of Surprised” Wondergirl Reveals Her Initial Reaction to the ‘Special Rules’ for Clash With Xiong Jing Nan

Published 09/02/2023, 2:52 AM EDT

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Nat “Wondergirl” Jaroonsak always welcomes a good fight, so it was easy for her to accept her upcoming match at ONE Fight Night 14: Stamp vs. Ham.

The Thai star is set to face ONE Women’s Strawweight MMA World Champion Xiong Jing Nan in a special rules striking contest at the Friday, September 29, event, which will feature four marquee battles between some of the best female fighters on ONE’s roster.

Wondergirl was expecting rules similar to Johnson-Rodtang clash

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After competing in over 50 kickboxing and Muay Thai bouts in her professional career, Jaroonsak’s last two outings were her first in mixed martial arts. But, as she is always a fan of a new adventure, “Wondergirl” jumped at the opportunity to compete in a special rules striking-only bout. While it won’t be the same layout as the MMA-Muay Thai hybrid rules battle that MMA legend Demetrious Johnson and Muay Thai superstar Rodtang Jitmuangnon took part in last year, her opponent for this particular match made it a no-brainer for the 24-year-old to agree to.

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“I was kind of surprised. When they said special rules, I thought it would be one round striking, one round MMA, just like Demetrious Johnson and Rodtang [Jitmuangnon]’s fight. My first thought was, ‘Why?’ But then I saw the opponent and said, ‘Why not?’ I want the fight. So, I accepted the fight,” Jaroonsak told ONE Championship in an interview. “It’s a big opportunity to fight her, a chance [to build my career]. I feel grateful that ONE gave me the opportunity to face the champ. I’ll do my best.” A straight-up MMA clash between the pair would no doubt be skewed in favor of Xiong, given “The Panda” has reigned supreme in the strawweight ranks since 2018 and has defeated every woman who has dared to stop her.

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Conversely, if they were to compete in Muay Thai, Xiong would be stepping into “Wondergirl’s” world. The Bangkok native is known for her piercing knee strikes, which would be a problem for the MMA World Champion. Thus, a special rules striking contest that will only allow them to use their hands, which will be wrapped in 4-ounce gloves, may level the playing field between the pair to a certain degree. But it may also play into the Chinese star’s strengths, as she is a former member of her country’s national boxing team.

Embracing ‘underdog’ role in special rules fight against Xiong Jing Nan

“Wondergirl” is unfazed overall, though, as she believes the experience of competing against such a high-level fighter will help her grow – regardless of the result. “Xiong has some boxing experience and more experience in small gloves than me. She has good hands as well. It’ll be a tough fight for me, but I’m happy,” she said.

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“I prefer to fight with good fighters. I can be the underdog. One of my goals is to fight with good people rather than [remain] undefeated but with low-level fights.” “I will give it my all. It’s fun for me to do this kind of stuff, win or lose. I’m the one who’ll get more experience and get better. [Being the underdog] is more challenging.”

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Written by:

Aditya Vaibhav

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Aditya Vaibhav is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. He discovered MMA in the year 2009 after watching Chuck Liddell on Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior, at the age of 10. A follower of combat sports, Aditya uses writing as a medium to actively participate in the domain he is so passionate about.
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Edited by:

Kratika Vajpayee