For years the best Muay Thai fighters have come out of Thailand and understandably so considering that it’s the national sport and they train from a very young age. The Thai’s can boast insanely skilled fighters such as Dieselnoi, Samart Payakaroon, Baukauw and the living legend Saenchai – but western muay thai can boast its own legends, fighters that rack up highlight reel knockouts and are full of heart, with Muay thai recently having a huge knock on effect to K-1 kickboxing styles as well. While these western fighters may not fight as often as their Thai counterparts, but they’re unafraid to consistently take on top level fighters, and often manage to upset the odds and take home the win.
So we’ve put together our own list of top level Muay Thai fighters from outside of Thailand. If you love striking and you haven’t seen these guys already, you definitely need to check them out – we’ve even included highlights for you. This is an ongoing series, check out part one here and keep an eye out for part three coming soon!
Liam Harrison is widely regarded as one of the best Nak Muay from the UK. He fights out of Bad Company gym in Leeds and his record of 75 wins, 20 losses and 2 draws is peppered with huge names, including three fights with Saenchai. Liam started training at 13, he turned pro just before his 15th birthday. By 19 he was a world champion. Since then he’s gone on to fight in Thailand at the major stadiums, and a few more world titles – including the WMC world title, arguably the most prestigious title belt in Muay Thai.
(Video Credit Michael Corley, Youtube)
Sticking with Bad Company gym we need to mention Liam’s training partner Jordan Watson. Jordan has been training since he was 6, and turned pro at 17. Known as a big kicker (he’s nicknamed ‘Quadzilla’) Jordan has fought some huge names including Buakaw Por. Pramuk after just 10 pro fights. He was beaten on points by the vastly more experienced Buakaw, but he gave a very good account of himself. At current Jordan’s record is 49 wins, 12 losses and 2 draws. He has held several world titles, and is currently the only person to have held the Yokkao 70kg world title.
(Video Credit Michael Corley, Youtube)
Giorgio Petrosyan is another spectacular kickboxer, in fact he recently beat Jordan Watson at Bellator Kickboxing: Florence. Emigrating from Armenia to Italy (legitimately crossing the border in the back of a truck) Giorgio decided to take up kickboxing at 14 after being inspired by martial arts films. He was initially turned away from gyms for being too small, but kept on trying until he was 16, when he started training and had his first fight. What sets Giorgio apart is his crazy record. He’s had 89 fights, of which he’s had 2 no contests, 2 draws and 2 losses. He’s won 83 of his 89 fights. In fact until he lost to Andy Ristie in the semi-finals of the Glory 12 Lightweight World Championship Tournament he was on a 42 fight, 6 year long winning streak.
(Video Credit SergeProductionHD, Youtube)
Tiffany Van Soest
Tiffany Van Soest came to Muay Thai via Shōrin-ryū karate, which she started training in at the age of eight. She got her black belt at 17, but her parents forbade her from competing until she turned 18. She quickly gained multiple state, national and world titles when she was allowed to compete. After a short break from martial arts while she got her degree she discovered Muay Thai. After a 10 and 1 amateur career Van Soest turned pro in 2011, and has had 17 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw since then. She won a world title on her 4th pro fight, in 2012, and then the WBC Muay Thai world title in the same year. She’s the Lion Fight Featherweight Champ and the GLORY Super Bantamweight champ, and she’s a very exciting fighter to watch.
(Video Credit DreistStudios, Youtube)
Fighting out of the famous Mike’s Gym in the Netherlands Bahr Hari is a scary, scary man. Training since the age of seven. His current record is 106 wins (92 by knockout), 13 losses and 1 draw. He was the K-1 Heavyweight Champion between 2007 – 2008, and the It’s Showtime Heavyweight Champ from 2009-2010. A Moroccan-Dutchman, he fought under the dutch flag until he was booed after a loss, when he decided to represent Morocco instead. He has even been praised by the King of Morocco for his achievements in kickboxing.
He’s fought some of the top heavyweights from around the world, including Alistair Overeem twice. However his achievements inside the ring have been marked by two accounts of unsportsmanlike conduct, as well as a string of violent incidences outside the ring which has seen him spend time in jail.
(Video Credit Will Prescott, Youtube)
This isn’t a ranking of fighters, just a selection of some of the best Nak Muay outside of Thailand that we love to watch and think you need to check out. We’re going to be adding to this list with another five fighters in the next few weeks, so make sure you follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to find out when they’re released!