The sport of Muay Thai is recognized around the world for its brutally uncompromising nature.
The notion of wild-eyed brutes beating each other to a pulp inside the confines of a small ring—while sinister-looking gamblers laugh and cheer—is one that, unfortunately, is a common misconception.
Yes, Muay Thai is a sport that can be intense. Blistering punches, roundhouses from hell, butchering knees from the clinch, and vicious elbows make for a tough and demanding sport.
But is Muay Thai really just raw brutality? Is it a sport devoid of subtlety, tact, or beauty? The answer is “no” and a resounding “no” at that.
Muay Thai can be more than bone-crunching mayhem and blitzing exchanges and flurries. It is more than power vs power and unrelenting forward pressure. The uncompromising warfare and electrifying toe-to-toe standoffs are part of the reason why we love Thailand’s national sport. To argue, however, that Muay Thai lacks grace, deftness, or requires cerebral qualities is ignorant at best.
After all, without such beauty, we would not have the Muay Femur. This fighting style represents the noble side of the sport. Muay Femur fighters are the architects of their opponents’ destruction rather than the bulldozers. They take their opponents’ style and turn it against them, seeing openings that no one else can, exposing flaws that did not seemingly exist, and executing finishes with exceptional style.
They go places no other fighters can, demonstrating the spectacular and ethereal while putting absolute killers and destroyers flat on their backs.
Today, we take a look at the greatest Muay Femur fighters of all time (in no particular order).
Multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao from the Evolve Fight Team is widely regarded as one of the most exciting fighters in the history of Muay Thai.
He is also one of the top pound-for-pound competitors in the world. Nong-O is known for his incredible speed, power, and ability to deconstruct an opponent with the wide range of weapons at his disposal. Fighters looking to emulate the Muay Femur style would benefit greatly from studying this legend.
Nong-O has amassed many titles and accolades during his stellar career, including several world championships in five divisions—4x Lumpinee Muay Thai World Championships, a Rajadamnern Muay Thai World Championship, and 2x Thailand National Championships.
Saenchai is one of the most beloved fighters of all time.
Regarded by most as one of the most important fighters in modern Muay Thai history, there is little doubt that he has earned a spot among the greatest fighters of all time. For most Muay Thai practitioners, especially Thai youths, Saenchai represents the fun and creative side of the sport.
This exceptional Muay Femur fighter is known for his incredible fighting brain and ability to overturn even the most imposing opponent’s size difference against them. His vision, overall skill, ring IQ, sweeps, dumps, and maneuvers—all behind a watertight defense—have made him exceptionally successful over the years.
Having won his first Lumpinee title at just 16, Saenchai would go on to win a few more.
A walking gold statue, Samart is a super legend in his homeland and among Muay Thai fans around the world.
While he is probably the greatest example of how to fight using the Muay Femur style, he is also one of the greatest Muay Thai competitors period. It is common to hear about a fighter being compared with a boxing great, yet Samart is known as both the Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson of Muay Thai. His skills were so acute that Samart transcended the sport.
A number of modern Muay Thai fighters got into the sport after watching him fight. He is seen as a hero in Thailand for his accomplishments even though he was not considered particularly athletic or physically gifted as a youth. Despite his lack of cardio and strength, Samart would prove many of his critics wrong, demonstrating a sky-high fight IQ, razor-sharp reflexes, and an understanding of the sport that seemed unworldly.
A multiple Lumpinee champion in various weight classes, Samart stood out as a great in the “Golden Age” of Muay Thai in the ’70s and ’80s when “great” truly meant “great.”