For many fighters, being able to represent their native country is a great honor and a rare opportunity. Carrying the pride of a nation into a fight undoubtedly adds more pressure to an already nerve-wracking situation, but it can also give the fighter a great sense of purpose and motivation to perform at his best.
Some Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters have been able to represent their countries on the world stage and bring great pride to their nations with what they have accomplished in the sport. Such fighters often gain fame and stardom in their native countries and sometimes even held as legends and heroes.
Today, Evolve Daily reveals 5 MMA Fighters Who Brought Great Pride to Their Nations:
1) Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke – Thailand
“I am very happy to represent Thailand and the sport of Muay Thai. I hope people who see me fight MMA will realize that fighters from Thailand are very strong.”
Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke has been making huge waves in the world of MMA in recent years as the first Lumpinee Muay Thai World Champion to compete in MMA. Since his debut, he has had one single goal: to win a world title and bring glory to his homeland. And Dejdamrong has certainly brought a great amount of pride to Thailand and the art of Muay Thai.
In 2014, the three-time Lumpinee Muay Thai World Champion dominated all four of his opponents in the ONE Championship cage, which earned him a shot at the inaugural ONE Strawweight title. Dejdamrong would go on to claim the title with yet another impressive performance, making history as the first Thai fighter to capture a world championship title in a major global MMA organization.
2) Conor McGregor – Ireland
There has been an extraordinary rise in Irish MMA over the past few years. This of course, can be largely credited to one single Irish fighter: Conor McGregor. Ever since the start of his MMA career, “The Notorious One” has been on a mission to put the nation of Ireland on the world map of MMA.
The brash Irishman continues to capture the hearts of MMA fans around the world with his undeniable talent as a fighter and his flamboyant personality and is quickly becoming perhaps one of the most popular MMA fighter today. Leading the charge for the Irish invasion in the UFC, McGregor has brought an enormous amount of pride to Ireland.
What McGregor has done in the UFC and for Irish MMA is unprecedented, and he will have the opportunity to bring glory to his country once again as he faces long-time champion, Jose Aldo for the UFC Featherweight World title at UFC 189.
3) Georges St. Pierre – Canada
As one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in history, it’s no wonder why Georges St. Pierre is often referred to as the pride of Montreal. However, GSP isn’t revered in his country and around the world just for his fighting abilities and incredible achievements in the sport MMA, but also for the classy and professional manner in which he carries himself.
During a time when MMA was still criticized for its credibility due to the sometimes violent and aggressive nature of the sport, it was admirable martial artists like GSP that helped the sport gain legitimacy and respect. GSP is no doubt a legend in the sport and an icon in Canada, and though he has since retired from the sport, his legacy lives on in Canada’s young aspiring MMA fighters.
Young Canadian MMA prospect Olivier Aubin-Mercier puts it best, “Georges St. Pierre created the wheel for everyone to start MMA. At some point, everyone wanted to be like Georges, and I’m one of those guys.”
4) Joanna Jedrzejczyk – Poland
Joanna Jedrzejczyk sent shockwaves through the world of MMA when she demolished Carla Esparza to become the UFC’s first Polish champion and the first European women’s champion. As a multiple time Muay Thai World Champion and most recently the UFC Women’s Strawweight World Champion, Jedrzejczyk has brought pride to Poland like no other Polish fighter has.
Now, with greater support and recognition, Jedrzejczyk plans to expand the MMA scene in her country by bringing the UFC to Poland. Jedzrejczyk performances reflect the natural toughness of her country’s people, and with more talented Polish fighters on the rise since her title win, Poland could very well become a major player in the international MMA scene in the next few years.
5) Narantungalag Jadambaa – Mongolia
Narantungalag Jadambaa is without question the best fighter Mongolia has ever produced. The 39-year old has represented his homeland at the highest levels of both Kickboxing and MMA. Last year, he accomplished his mission of becoming the first Mongolian fighter to earn an MMA world champion title when he defeated Japanese MMA veteran Koji Oishi.
Now as the ONE Championship Featherweight World Champion, Jadambaa’s journey and achievements will certainly inspire more Mongolian athletes to pick up MMA. With all the glory he has brought to his nation, he will no doubt be considered as one of the greatest fighters and pioneers of Mongolian MMA.
It is always a privilege to see a great athlete represent their country on the world stage of MMA. However, they definitely would not have been able to find success without the support from their countrymen, so let us never forget to support those who carry the pride of their nation into a fight!