My Fight


I need to apologise…  for the past several weeks probably months, I’ve been a bit neglectful of MMT…

Let me explain… I’ve poured my heart into Muay Thai for better or for worse, nearly everyday for the past 6 or 7 years. What should I post today? What fights are on this week? Are we behind on Muay Thai Minutes? (yes BTW)

With Muay Thai being such a huge part of my life, there was still an itch that needed to be scratched.  I’ve always wanted to fight.  It’s something that I’ve wanted for the past several years, but like a lot of plans and aspirations they get pushed into the background.  Life happens…

It’s so much easier to talk about it, then to actually do it.  I’ve been talking about it for years, but it’s mostly just been empty words.  I’m turning 40 this year, which is old as fuck.  I was worried it was never going to happen… I thought it’s time to get off my ass and do something about this. It’s got to be now.

I quietly started training; I didn’t really say anything to anyone.  I Didn’t tell my girlfriend, my trainer, anyone.  I didn’t want to set an artificial date in the future, I didn’t want to feel rushed, I just wanted to pick up my training, and see where things went.

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169 lbs (77 kg) to 134 (60 kg)

I began to focus on my training, making it to as many training sessions as I could.  I started watching my diet, started doing a lot more conditioning outside of Muay Thai.  Within a couple of months I started dropping the weight, and started to feel like my sparring was getting a little sharper.  In about 3 months I went from about 76kg (167 lb) to about 68 (149 lb)…  I felt good.  I did an Interclub (smoker) and felt good, physically and mentally.  It was time to let Coach Damon know.  He agreed and it was time to find me a show.  A few days later Coach Damon found a local show, the The Team Tieu “ Super MTC” show at the Kings Cross Scala.

I thought it was fitting venue as I had attended several of these shows, and I’m pretty sure my desired to fight was a direct result of attending one of these shows. It’s a great venue, local not too big, not too small.   It was set, I was matched at 60 kg, (134 lb) and it was on.

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Can’t say enough about the commitment, the heart and soul that Coach Damon pours into training and preparing us for fights.  Because Damon insists fighter’s train twice a day, there are lots of early morning rises, and late evenings at the gym.

Training camp last about 5 weeks and Monday through Friday we would train 2X a day with a single session on Sat and sweet, sweet rest on Sunday.

Physically my body wasn’t enjoying it at all; initially I found that I was getting lots of little colds.  Psychologically… can’t say I was enjoying it either…  I found a side effect from all the training was I was feeling quite burnt out on Muay Thai.   I found the last thing I wanted to think about after a long day of training was Muay Thai.  I didn’t want to post, didn’t want to think about MT.  I found the closer I got towards my fight, the more I couldn’t bare to watch Muay Thai fights.  I would get anxious; I could feel my breathing change, my fists and shoulders would get tight. Watching fights became a bit too stressful.  I thought my training was going to be like a Rocky montage, I thought I was going to feel great.  In reality, I was exhausted and irritable most of the time.  So my apologies for neglecting MMT, but now you know why.


I found Sean Fagan’s aka MuayThaiGuys training guide very helpful resource as well as 30 day Fighters Diet.  The diet wasn’t so much about, losing weight that was going to happen naturally.  The diet was about how much to eat, what to eat and when.  All my meals revolved around getting me fuelled up for the next training session.

Getting my Head Straight

Within 5 weeks I had shrunk from 68kg to 63 KG and I was feeling strong.  I had a couple of bad training sessions where nothing was working and my sparring partners were kicking the shit out of me.

I found that my frustrations began to direct inward, and my frustrations quickly spiralled into insecurities… what if this happens on the day? What if I can’t perform?  I started having anxiety dreams, about getting to the fight and not having gloves, shorts or mouth guard etc.

I had the opportunity to speak to a couple of people who really put me at ease.  The first was Dr. Tony Myers.  You’ll know Tony from the interviews and all of his scoring work.  In addition to Muay Thai Judging and Scoring, Tony has a doctorate in Sports Psychology; he does a lot of mental performance coaching.  I spoke to him and he gave me some great advice, on visualisation techniques that would prove very useful in my fight.

Tony said, it’s important to stick to your game plan, that often times a fighter will get caught with something, instead of regrouping, and following the plan, the fighter will try to do something extraordinary… “he’ll panic and try to make up ground.  You don’t train to do extraordinary things… you train to a plan and you should stick to it”.

The second person was Greg Wootton. Greg is talented a friend and a talented nak muay who’s the WMC Mad champion and number 1 ranked junior welterweight in the UK.  Greg also admitted he couldn’t stand watching fights pre fight and that he also has pretty horrific anxiety dreams. Just hearing that put me at ease…   His bit of advice was “ Resign yourself to the fact that you’re going to give everything you have in that ring. Surrender yourself to that; know that you will be exhausted. Don’t get hung up on being tired, don’t think about it, just get on with it.”

The Fight

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”

-Mike Tyson

This a profession C class bout, in the UK that means, No elbows or knees to the head, 5 rounds at 01:30 per round.  There’s not much time so, you just need to get going.

Damon and I had a very simple plan, rehearsed for hours over the previous weeks. Executed in sparring sessions… visualised in my mind for countless hours in those wee hours of the night.  I’d say I executed about 35% of it?

As soon as the leather started to fly, my rational thinking brain stepped out and instinct took the steering wheel.  As you can see in the first, I catch his kick and try to get a punch off, instead his punch lands clean on my jaw and all I know is I’m sitting on my ass.  Fuck.  How long have I been sitting here? I look over at Damon, who’s shouting “GET UP!”

I get an 8 count…  Just stick to the plan don’t try anything extraordinary…

Over the next few rounds, I get my wits back and it becomes clear to me that I should be clinching him, and I begin to execute… and over the next few rounds I’m able to claw myself out of that first round hole.

In the end it’s a UD, Draw.  I’m ok with it, I know I could have performed better, but that’s for another fight.  Hopefully I can get on another show, and improve and implement some of the plan.



Fighting in the UK and for most of the world is an endeavour of love.  There’s just no money in it.  I want to thanks Coach Damon Faulkner of Singdayt Muay Thai for his time, energy and knowledge.   His dedication to his fighters and his students is unequaled.

Many, Many thanks to all my training partners (Ting Tong) and sparring partners (Shub) who pushed me and beat on me along the way.

Much respect to my opponent Stephen To, for his clean technique, and his nak muay attitude and spirit.

Thanks to Philip Tieu for opportunity to be on the show.


This clip is from, you can buy the full event dvd  from team tieu fbook page, just message them.


About Author

I started My Muay Thai back in 2006... I was tired of reading about MMA, and wanted somewhere I could watch real muay thai fights, be inspired and connect with others who love muay thai as much as I do... I currently live in London... when I'm not geeking out over muay thai you can find me bombing around London on my scrambler, ferreting out the latest street food gems.


  1. Wow Nop what an inspirational article! Great fight to! I was wondering why Mymuaythai seemed a bit dead at times but that was an amazing read. You look great for someone almost turning 40 even though 40 isn’t really that old anymore depending on how healthy you are.

    Also I havent trained since I got back from thailand a couple months back because I have been really busy getting back into the routine of reality. I was looking for a local gym around south london and was wondering what Damiens gym was like? Once you have experienced good trainers in Thailand your expectations become higher and to be honest a lot of gyms I have gone to in London in the past a pretty rubbish. I might visit Damiens gym but wanted to know how you felt about it knowing that you have experienced good camps around Thailand yourself and that you know good from bad.

  2. Awesome mate! You deserve the break as well as the time spent on yourself, you’ve given so much to the online muay Thai community.

    That weight loss is a good look for you! You look years younger, like you’re in your 20s. It’s hard believe you’re someone turning 40 because you don’t look it.

    Very thankful for the blog and your contributions. Chok Dee!

  3. Nop, I’ve been following your site since starting muay thai about 7 years ago. During this time I’ve never made a single post – but I felt compelled to do so now.

    I too am pushing 40 and as you’d suspect life, at times, has prevented me from getting my muay thai fix. I sometimes go without training for 2-3 months but muay thai is never far from thought especially with a site like yours.

    I’ve found it entertaining, informative, thought provoking (there can be some lively discourse found here, ha!), and above all, as cliche as it may sound, extremely inspirational. This latest article is a case in point.

    The prospect of fighting has niggled me for years – your story may be the nudge i needed to push me off the cliff.

    Either way, sincere thanks for providing an entertaining fight clip and so much to the MT community!

  4. Also how tall are you nop? I’m wondering because I’ve been contemplating making the change to 60kg from my usual weight of 67, and 70 before that. In interclubs everyone I fight is taller and longer than me, it’s difficult, and obviously im no yodsaenklai or saenchai who can beat up anyone of any size. I’m a stout 172cm, used to be a bodybuilder. I just don’t want to destroy any of my organs, or die trying to cut so low.

  5. Yes, very inspiring and makes me reflect on my own life. I’ll be 40 in October and haven’t fought yet. Closest was in Thailand back in 2009 but the gym wanted me to train for a month first. Unfortunately I was only there for 3 weeks.

    Anyhow between work and a 2 year old daughter things have looked bleak regarding serious training and fighting but Nop, this article has given me some hope. Thanks again great fight. Good luck in your training and possible future fights!!

  6. nopadon wongpakdee on

    Hey fellas thanks for the kind words. I felt like this was a massively rewarding experience. I definitely want more… I guess if you’ve been thinking about, thinking your too old, just throw yourself into it. You won’t regret it.

    Tibun, thanks for your words, I’m 5’7″ or (171.5 cm) this was the lightest I’ve been since high school, sophomore year. I didn’t crash diet, but just worked out shit loads and eat sensibly. over a month later and I’m hovering around 64 kg. Working out 3 times a week, but still trying to eat sensibly.

  7. Good job. I don’t often post. I just enjoy watching the fights and staying up to date with the latest Muay thai from time to time. Love training too, don’t fight at the moment but would looking forward to it, especially after your fight. There’s not much happening in terms of Muay thai in South Africa, Cape Town, but it is growing. Thanks for your efforts for the sport and keep it up.

  8. Wow! Very Inspiring!
    I almost took a fight while in Thailand but ended not being able to becuase I was too lazy to rebook my flight – I’ve been thinking about going back to finally fight out there and after watching this, there is no question I have to do it. Thank you!

  9. Hi Nop

    Great site you have, I have follwed for a while now but never posted. congrats on the weight loss you really do look so much better for it and for a first fight I would say really good effort, not scrappy in the slightest like some c class fights you get, could even see a bit of mr wootton’s style in there with the high guard and constant teep faking. I m currently training for my first c class fight I usually just run in the morning and train in the evening, you say at your gym that you guys trsain twice a day for fights, is that 2 proper training sessions or just running in morning and training later, like what I do, if it is 2 proper training sessions would love to know how the guys and yourself at the gym squeeze that into your day around work etc, please let me know?

    • nopadon wongpakdee on

      hi andyb-

      thanks mate, so yeah two “proper” training sessions a day. The morning routine, is tactical, light tactical sparring/play, pad session (5-6 rounds) time depended with focus on the techniques you were drilling. followed by light conditioning.

      Evening session is a 30min run, stretch, shadow, pad session (hard), followed by play (light sparring) and clinch work. Conditioning, and then home to cry.

      The morning session is early… before work. At work stick to your eating routine otherwise you won’t have enough energy for your evening session.

      Evening session you just work with your regular camp mates, You can manage as it’s temporary… but if your spouse/partner isn’t giving your support, or giving you hell for coming home late, or not spending enough time at home, it isn’t going to be easy.

  10. Nop. I too don’t post a ton, but I had to say congrats. All of us in the online community appreciate all the work you put into the site, so some slow time on MMT while you train and focus on your self was of course, much deserved! As the commentator said, the class of the fights was surprisingly crisp for first time fighters. I help train fighters and usually the first go is not pretty. Your technique looked quite good and (you didn’t discuss your fight plan in detail) it looked like you stuck to your plan in the ring.

    Anyways, congrats and stick to it. I’ve had 4 fights over the years and I progressed dramatically with each (my first fight wasn’t nearly as clean as yours!). It gets more and more rewarding.

  11. that was a really impressive first outing. was that right it was the other guys first fight to?If so that was a very nice display. Very very tough trying to train like that and work full time I wouldnt want to do it. I think if your older and youv always loved muay thai (Im near on 38) you will always have a problem with yourself until youve tried the ring experience. 2bh I don’t think youl get over that feeling until youve had your first or maybe more FTR fight using all the weapons youve always trained for. Based on that performance it won’t be long!

  12. Congrats Nop. Have to admit as I was watching the fight I couldn’t help but think that your opponent got robbed up until that final round. I think with that strong finish a good argument can definitely be made for a draw under proper scoring. Props to you for coming back from that 8 count and hanging with an opponent that looked, to me, stronger, more skilled, more experienced. I know that might sound like a diss but for me that is the best compliment one can get in Muay Thai, to have big heart, to keep going against odds that are against your favor. So, respect bro, that is a great first fight. I do have a couple questions if you don’t mind:

    1. Do you feel differently about Muay Thai now that you have fought?

    2. Did you enjoy the experience of fighting?

    3. How does it feel to be homogenized into ‘The Thai?’ (I might take it as a compliment myself :P)

    • nopadon wongpakdee on

      Thanks dude!

      1. Do you feel differently about Muay Thai now that you have fought?

      I always new fight training would be a long hard slog… but doing it… well that’s another thing. Massive props to people who do it and hold down a job. I was surprised at how “lonely” the experience was. The whole thing makes you quite self-centred; it takes over your life for those 5 weeks. It dictates when and what you can eat or do. The anxieties, the pressure you put on yourself… (Don’t want to let myself down, my trainer, my gym,) I even felt added pressure because of MMT. I had one fight, I took a sip and I know what it kind of tastes like. I feel slightly closer to MT, having tasted that aspect.

      2. Did you enjoy the experience of fighting?

      I did, from what I can remember… I’m surprised by how little I took in during the bout. I remember having the intention to kick, but don’t actually remember doing it. The time up to the bell moves so slowly… the fight is a blur, and afterwards is the hangover of not having a goal that your working towards. I’ve done a few marathons, and when it was over, I’ve always felt a little let down, that it’s over… I felt a similar feeling with the fight, just less pronounced.

      3. How does it feel to be homogenized into ‘The Thai?’ (I might take it as a compliment myself :P)

      I know he didn’t mean anything by it, he had a hard time remembering my name… most people would take it as a compliment, but it makes me feel like a retard. Normally when they use the “Thai” it’s to describe prowess… anyone watching this fight cold, would think where the fuck did they find this Thai?

      • I literally cant understand how people do hold down full time jobs and train properly for a fight.Once or twice I can understand but especially with regards to how badly paid it is. the majority of full time fighters I know of either live at home with their parents or they’re criminals. especially muay thai and mma these are the only 2 ways you could fund the time training

    • … looked, to me, stronger, more skilled, more experienced

      I sparred with both fighters and have no idea where you come from with above. Both fighters were novice C-class. Strength is a relative term. With all due respect to Stephen I wouldn’t pass my judgement so easily. But perhaps I’m biased..

  13. I can empathize with your motivation behind this. Many a day at the end of a training week have I lamented that I had not found MT earlier in life…I would have definitely been fighting (training in BKK included). Like you I am quite close to 40 and the fight bug has always been there for me. It is good you got the chance to face that demon, and even better you documented it. Undoubtedly there are more middle aged nak muay that will find value in this piece as it relates to their situation.
    Congrats on your fight-!
    ps I would say we should have a Masters division for us older folks as we age..but all I can see is someone like p` Num cracking skulls and cleaning house lol

    • LOL. Yeah i liked how the commentator kept saying “The Thai”. There were high expectations for you Nop. That’s like being “the black guy” in a basketball game full of whites. Racism!

      Reminds me of overpriveleged Thai/Lao/Khmer where i live who haven’t trained a day in their life but proclaim they have Muay Thai in their blood and could use it anytime.

  14. wow. awesome surprise!!! like seeing your plump algebra teacher transform into a ripped fighter. haha, you even got dropped!! how awesome. you got a psycho fight face. thanks for sharing. and congrats/respect, i thought i am kinda old but you did this at 40. thats huge.

  15. I only had a few fights my last one was 4 years ago now so Id have been about 34.It was my 5th MT fight. Although I won in the end I got the living piss kicked out of me.After the fight which entailed me getting 2 8 counts and cuts that resulted in 15 stitches, I had serious concussion for a month.The first 2 weeks I just kept losing conciousness at the drop of the hat, was throwing up had a crazy temperature etc. The 12 stitches on my forhead got seriously infected with puss coming out of the terrible stitching job they did at the stadium. I was in a bad way, but thats fighting hey? The problem I had with it is I got a family, one I looked f##ked up which was hard for my kids to get their heads around. but for a month before the fight I was a nightmare cause I was training like a lunatic so that was bad for my family.For a month after the fight I was a nightmare because I was a mess. If Id have been in the UK there would have been no way on earth I have been able to work for the month post fight so in the end I just decided that fighting was just an indulgence for my hobby and it was utterly unfair to the wife and kids for me to do it. It brings no money worth talking about at the kind of level an older man can achieve. Still always think about getting back in there though and trying again!

  16. Hi Nop,

    Just want to congratulate you on making this journey. You inspired me to start my website and so awesome to see you in the ring for the first time. Really inspiring! Chok Dee for all future endeavours and keep the good work up as you inspire many of people to be interested in Muay thai world wide.

  17. Wooooooow Nopstar!!! Thats so awesome! You look so fit and thin! One of the reasons I started Muay Thai was this site! I remember Nopstar interviewing famous(not as main stream as now, though It could still stand to be more mainstream today)Nak Muays and visiting and training in Thai gyms, and quite chubby. :D But damn, you took care of that!!!!! I started MT at 29 years old, and was lucky, that a super gym was located near me. I now have a Danish Warrior Title belt and 17 fights, fought on national tv twice, 34 years old. Muay Thai changes lives !!!

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