ONE Championship is home to some of the most elite athletes in the world, with some of them proving it in multiple sports or weight classes.
Claiming a title is part of the goals of any martial artist as it is a testament to the skills they worked hard to develop. While weight classes are made to level the playing field, some of the most legendary fighters have conquered different divisions to prove that they are good, no matter the circumstances that are against them. Boxing greats like Roy Jones Jr., ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, and Manny Pacquiao are just a few names that come to mind.
In ONE Championship, athletes are able to test themselves in multiple disciplines apart from migrating to a different weight class. As such, fighters can test themselves against world champions in MMA, Muay Thai, and kickboxing, all in different weight classes.
ONE 159 main event fighter Reinier de Ridder is one of the few two-division world champions in the promotion, and he will put one of them on the line when Vitaly Bigdash challenges him for the ONE middleweight world title.
Meanwhile, co-main event star Janet Todd is looking to become a two-sport world champion when she takes to the circle on July 22. The American is set to take on promotional newcomer Lara Fernandez for the ONE interim atomweight Muay Thai world title.
Here are the other world champions who have held two golds on their shoulders.
#5. Martin Nguyen – ONE Championship’s first two-division world champion
After splitting his first two assignments in ONE Championship, Martin Nguyen racked up four straight first-round victories in the circle to earn a second shot at Marat Gafurov’s ONE featherweight world title in 2017.
He made the most out of his opportunity by knocking out the Dagestani in the second round of their matchup. After dominating the competition in the featherweight ranks, Nguyen decided to move up and challenge the next division’s champion, Eduard Folayang.
After just three months, ‘The Situ-Asian’ found himself in Manila, standing across the hometown hero and ONE lightweight world champion Folayang. By the second round, Nguyen found an opening to unleash a devastating overhand right to end the contest and shock the world.
The feat gave Nguyen the distinction of being the first double-world champion in ONE Championship.
#4. Aung La N Sang – The first ONE middleweight and light heavyweight world champion
Aung La N Sang started his rise in ONE Championship with four straight victories in the circle.
In 2017, he bravely stepped in on short notice for a world title clash against ONE middleweight world champion Vitaly Bigdash. He pushed the hulking Russian to five rounds but could not claim the world title.
The pair met for a rematch five months later, with Aung La getting the opportunity to fully prepare for their bout. It paid off in a big way as he claimed his first world title in front of his home fans in Myanmar.
In 2018, ‘The Burmese Python’ took on Alexandre Machado for the vacant ONE light heavyweight world championship. Myanmar’s hero needed only 56 seconds to stop Machado in their matchup and claim his second world title.
#3. Stamp Fairtex – ONE’s first two-sport world champion
Stamp Fairtex introduced herself on the global stage of ONE Championship in a big way. The Thai superstar faced ONE atomweight kickboxing world champion Kai Ting Chuang in her debut match in October 2018.
Stamp outclassed her opponent through five rounds to earn a unanimous decision victory and claim her first world title.
It was only the beginning of her rise though. She was tasked to face promotional newcomer Janet Todd four months later for the inaugural ONE atomweight Muay Thai world title. Stamp showed why she is one of the best Muay Thai fighters around with a dominant performance to win via unanimous decision.
By claiming the Muay Thai crown, Stamp made history by becoming the first two-sport world champion in the promotion. She later turned her focus on climbing the MMA ranks and even won the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship.
After winning the prestigious tournament, Stamp expressed her desire to claim gold in a third sport, a goal that she continues to pursue today.
#2. Sam-A Gaiyanghadao – Muay Thai legend conquers kickboxing
After competing in over 400 bouts in Muay Thai, Sam-A Gaiyanghadao was already a legend of the sport when he arrived in ONE Championship.
He won the ONE flyweight Muay Thai world title in 2018 but lost the title in his first world title defense. It pushed him to move down to his natural weight class, where he was able to unleash his skills even better.
In 2019, he switched sports to compete for the inaugural ONE strawweight kickboxing world title against Wang Junguang. The Thai icon utilized his skills to conquer a world title in a second sport.
Three months later, Sam-A returned to his original sport to battle Josh Tonna for the inaugural ONE strawweight Muay Thai world title. His masterclass against the Aussie striker brought him a second world title in the division, his third overall in the promotion.
#1. Reinier de Ridder – Reigning ONE middleweight and light heavyweight world champion
The undefeated Reinier de Ridder is the latest and the only reigning champ-champ in ONE Championship.
Reiniert de Ridder arrived in ONE Championship with nine wins under his belt and no losses. He proved that he can compete with the best in the world, collecting three straight wins in the circle to earn a shot at the ONE middleweight world title.
He shocked the world in 2020 by ending Aung La N Sang’s dominant seven-bout winning streak with a first-round submission victory. Six months later, he went up against Aung La once again, this time for the ONE light heavyweight world title. He needed all five rounds to conquer Myanmar’s hero, but he successfully joined the elite club of double champions in the promotion.
At ONE 159, de Ridder will look to keep his status as a reigning two-division champion when he takes on Vitaly Bigdash in the main event of the July 22 event.