Former ONE Atomweight Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Champion Stamp Fairtex of Thailand was simply ecstatic last week when she could finally break the news to all of her fans.
The 23-year-old superstar was selected as one of eight women to compete in the highly-anticipated ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix, the promotion’s CEO Chatri Sityodtong announced on his official Facebook page last Wednesday night, 24 February.
Stamp joins #1-ranked contender Denice Zamboanga, #2-ranked Meng Bo, Indian wrestling champion Ritu Phogat, undefeated Japanese star Itsuki Hirata, South Korean veteran Seo Hee Ham, Alyona Rassohyna, and Alyse Anderson.
Stamp knows exactly what’s at stake in this high profile tournament, but is more than willing to face the specific challenges she will encounter.
“I’m very happy to be selected to participate in this Grand Prix. I’m so excited to face the best in my division. I know I have a lot of ground to cover, in terms of my MMA career, but I’m more motivated now than ever,” said Stamp.
“I’ve learned a lot over my last couple of fights, and I’m ready to apply those learnings to my performances moving forward.”
The winner of the tournament will go on to face reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee, after the reigning atomweight queen gives birth to her first child.
Lee is expected to be ready by November, although nothing is set in stone. Stamp feels whoever emerges the winner from the Grand Prix is the right person to take on Lee when she’s finally ready.
“I think this tournament is a great way to determine the true top contender to the throne,” said Stamp.
“I look at the names and I see a lot of talented women. It’s an overwhelming feeling to be a part of this incredible opportunity. Women’s atomweight is one of the deepest divisions in ONE Championship.”
The ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix is set to commence shortly, with ONE Championship announcing the tournament bracketing soon.
Details on Stamp’s assignment in the first round will be revealed in the coming weeks. One possibility however, is Stamp facing #1-ranked Denice Zamboanga of the Philippines.
Stamp and Zamboanga built a close friendship when the latter was still training with Fairtex in Pattaya, a little over a year ago. However, if they do meet in the Circle, Stamp is willing to trade blows with her former comrade, stating that it should not affect their personal relationship outside of competition.
“Denice is such a talented and good fighter. I know how hard she has worked, and I know she is very capable of winning this tournament. If we do end up facing each other in a fight, it’s not going to be personal. It’s just a test of skill,” said Stamp.
“No matter what happens, she will always be my friend. In the Circle, we’re just two martial artists who are trying to better ourselves and test ourselves against the biggest challenges in this sport.”