We continue counting down the fighters who were able to become a Champion in their very first fight with ONE.
In case you missed it, here’s part one of this series!
The man known as “No Face” was a Shooto and Cage Force veteran with a respectable 19-7 record before coming to ONE.
Boku was a decent fighter by all accounts, but he was yet to grab any kind of gold in his long career that began in 2001. In contrast, his opponent, Zorobabel Morerira Jr., was the one being set-up to become the first ONE Lightweight Champion.
Moreira was one of the promotion’s first fighters, making his debut at ONE FC 1: Champion vs. Champion. He was on a three-fight win streak with stoppages over Andy Wang, Felipe Enomoto, and former UFC fighter Roger Huerta.
Add to all this the fact that Moreira was also a product of Evolve MMA and you have all the elements of a gimme fight.
The two met at the co-main event of ONE: Rise of Kings, and although the fight did go to the ground as per the Brazilian’s game plan, he wasn’t able to finish the fight.
Eventually, all the effort took its toll. With a well-placed right straight, Boku knocked out Moreira barely a minute into the third round to become the inaugural ONE Lightweight Champion.
We’d covered Koji Oishi and his first fight in the promotion in our Boogeyman Rivalries article.
Basically, Oishi was the 4th Pancrase Lightweight Champion that’s fought some of the best in the business, including Carlos Condit, Katsuya Inoue and the Diaz brothers.
The gap between him and Honorio Banario when they met at ONE: Rise to Power for his promotional debut was akin to Goliath challenging David.
Unfortunately for Filipino fans, that’s exactly how their fights turned out. Though the Rock had his moment in the dying seconds of the first round, Oishi would finish him in the second and become the 2nd ONE Featherweight Champion.
The story of the ONE Flyweight Championship really is just between Adriano Moraes and Geje Eustaquio. Kairat Akhmetov was a blind throw in the dark that hit the mark.
Before coming to ONE, Akhmetov was the Alash Pride FC Flyweight Champion with an undefeated 22-0 record. There were serious questions about how he would fare on the international stage, fighting away from his native Kazakhstan.
Moraes was on a four-fight win streak coming into the fight and The Kazakh was a challenge he’s already faced before. Akhmetov was already the second undefeated fighter ONE brought in specifically to challenge Moraes for the belt.
The first was Riku Shibuya and the Champion comfortably beat him via Unanimous Decision.
Though the challenger brought a considerable resume for his promotional debut, not many were willing to take a bet against the Champion.
The two met in the co-main event of ONE: Dynasty of Champions (Beijing).
Akhmetov made the most of his opportunity and the fight was more exciting than most were expecting. In the end, it all came down to the wire, as the judges gave Akhmetov the Split Decision victory to become the 2nd ONE Flyweight Champion.
Nobita was an undefeated Shooto Flyweight Champion before coming to ONE. He began his professional career in 2012 and didn’t know what the word “Lose” meant until 2017.
Naito was such a big step-up in competition for then-champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke that you almost feel sorry for the guy. The Thai had only transitioned to MMA in 2014 and his biggest win at the time was against a 6-1 Roy Doliguez.
The odds were definitely stacked against “Kru Rong” when he met his challenger in the main event of ONE: King of Champions.
Perhaps it was the crowd or the preparation he invested into the fight, but it wasn’t the complete blowout many were expecting. Kru Rong held his own for much of the fight.
But, eventually, Naito’s superior wrestling and Dejdamrong’s relative inexperience on the ground led to a rear-naked choke in the fourth round. The Japanese became the 2nd ONE Strawweight Champion.
We have to start Stamp’s entry to this list with a couple of caveats.
First, we’re not counting her prior appearance in ONE Warrior Series 2 as her promotional debut. We’re treating OWS as a feeder league for the main stage.
Second. we’re also considering sport debuts in the same vein as the Sam-A Gaiyanghadao entry in the prior article.
With those out of the way, we can now declare Stamp Fairtex as a two-sport debut champion. She won the ONE Women’s Kickboxing Atomweight title in her promotional debut against Kai Ting Chuang at ONE: Kingdom of Heroes.
Six months later, she won the inaugural ONE Women’s Atomweight Muay Thai title against Janet Todd at ONE: Call to Greatness.
There’s not much to say about these fights. Stamp was a machine that overcame her opponents with her aggression and won the fans over with her dancing.
Honorable Mentions – Martin Nguyen and Christian Lee
The careers of these two men seem to link wherever they go. Their battles at Featherweight supply a long-simmering rivalry that makes a third clash almost inevitable.
But one more thing that these two titans have in common is that they both won the ONE Lightweight title in their divisional debuts.
Nguyen knocked out Eduard Folayang at ONE: Legends of the World. Christian did the same to Shinya Aoki at ONE: Enter The Dragon.
The two fighters are pretty much mirror images of each other.
There you have it, all the fighters that became Champions in their first fight. We don’t expect to add anyone new to the lists soon, as all the divisions now have fleshed out rosters.
But what do you think? Are there undiscovered talents out there that can shock the world and become the next debut Champion?
Also, be sure to check out the Overtime Heroics Forums page to join in on the discussion!