Combat Sports

Getting to Know – Phoe Thaw

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The story of the 35-year-old Phoe Thaw. His character, and skill amount to being a huge inspiration for millions of people including those in his home country of Myanmar. He leads by example that hard work and commitment can take you to the top, regardless of age.

At 30 years old Thaw made his ONE Championship debut with a TKO victory over Kyal Sin Htoo in 2015. His success continued in October 2016, when he scored a TKO over Saw Yan Paing to win a one-night tournament against Myanmar’s top featherweights.

With a record of 8-2 Thaw has the featherweight division on notice with a mixture of martial arts, including his brutal Lethwei style it’s always going to be Eye-catching when Thaw is there to fight.


I recently had the honor to speak with Thaw about his life, every bit as interesting as he is.

You have a 86% 1st Round win record. What do you attribute to your early success in fights?

Thaw – “The ONE event was the first time-fighting MMA for all of Myanmar fighters. I want to be a good fighter to go up against world-class level fighters. I’ll keep trying to be better day by day and push myself harder every day.  I am studying training and conditioning techniques to help give me an advantage. “

You are an active charity worker. Can you tell us about the charities you have helped and what made you want to get involved?

Thaw – “I have donated my blood since 2002 and I always am happy and willing to help with my heart to people in the surrounding community. I co-founded a charity group to donate blood to help people. My social activities make me stronger mentally and happier in my life. That experience changed my life a lot.”

With a martial arts background in Lethwei, Karate, Muay Thai, and Aikido. How do you feel individually those martial arts have helped shape your career in MMA?

Thaw -” As a mixed martial art, we can mix with anything we want to and there is no end of learning martial art . According to the fighter’s weak and strong points , we can modify and create in many ways of each original martial are by mixing and adaptation to MMA style. A MMA fighter should respect every single martial art and we can observe or study.”

How did you get started in martial arts and MMA?

Thaw -” I started in martial arts to maintain my health condition because I was so weak with my health condition and learning a martial art is one of my hobbies. After a little bit learning of martial art. I was thinking to fight an amateur fight as an experience. Since then I’ve changed my purpose since people mocked my desire and skills, and when they gave me negative comments it motivated me, even more, to prove them wrong. I just wanted to become a pro fighter and the positive and negative opinions and criticism drive me to be a pro fighter, mostly the negative pushed me harder to be who I am today.  “

You currently own the record for most Knockout wins in ONE featherweight history. What more can we expect from you?

Thaw -” In the beginning, nobody believed in me, not my family, friends, or anyone who knew me. But that fueled my desire to succeed. No matter what I am doing I will always do my best. My attitude is to never give up. I will fight with respect and honor. You will see what I am capable of in MMA since I started at the age of 30 with bad health conditions. I will prove nothing is impossible in the cage and inspire people to exceed their expectations.

You were quite late starting in MMA at 30. What made you decide to take up the challenge?

Thaw – “I started my MMA career late at 30,  there are many things drove me into this career; mostly, when I feel people don’t give some respect of  my desire, when people say impossible , when people say it is too late and when people say that I  can’t do it. And when people say You are my idol and you inspired me. “

Myanmar is known for its amazing fan base and electric atmosphere. Tell me what is it like fighting in front of a Myanmar crowd?

Thaw -” Fighting in front of Myanmar crowds is like a job of bomb disposal trooper . When you have victory you can save everyone and when you are fail you killed everyone . Which means there is so much pressure for me to continue to grow with my experiences and skills. But always getting encouragement from my fans makes a difference to me. Myanmar fans around the world are inspired by me and I am by them. Without them Phoe Thaw does not exist. I love them all. “

What do you look to achieve in your MMA career?

Thaw -” In my MMA career I want to achieve success in my own way, even if I am not a world champion. I want to be a person seen as a champion by my fans both inside and outside of the cage. I want to be the one who can give the best motivation to the people as long as I am doing my career . And I want to win every single fight in the future. “

What’s next for you?

Thaw -” I am totally different now. You all will notice me , when I show up myself again.

Make sure to support Phoe Thaw’s career by following his social media. Links below.

Instagram – phoethaw

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James Rees is host of ReesTalks Podcast and a Football, F1 and MMA writer, who strives to bring you the best content aswel as bringing you interviews with some of the sports top stars.