NOBODY can deny that the fights between Rodtang and Jonathan Haggerty were some of the most exciting bouts in combat sports.

And, surely, fighting with Rodtang is going to shine a light on areas you can improve.

Styles make fights. Knowing your own fighting style, and not allowing emotions to sway you into playing the fight in a way you won’t win, is crucial.

It’s a valuable lesson that Jonathan Haggerty shares in my newest YT video -and one he earned going head to head with Rodtang on the biggest stage, ONE Championship.

by Don Heatrick

Transcript: Lessons From Fighting Rodtang

Jonathan Haggerty:

Championship mindset. Like, for instance, when they tell you you’ve got to fight RODTANG…

In your head, you don’t, you don’t say no. You just say, “Yeah, let’s do it.”

From the get go, you just say, “Yeah, that’s what I want to do. That’s how I‘m gonna beat him.”

That’s the championship mindset you need to have.

Don Heatrick:

Yeah. And you mentioned Rodtang there, I mean you had two cracks at him as well. And that’s, I’m kind of guessing, that’s probably one of your biggest challenges you’ve had to date. Would you agree with that? One of your biggest obstacles?


Well, I’d say the first fight was erm… I went back to my corner after the first two rounds and I thought, “this was going to be a walk in the park.” And as the fight progressed, I thought I was winning (round) one. But in the second one, it just proved that erm… he stepped it up a level.

And that was the step. That was a step higher for me that one.


Yeah. And what do you feel like you’ve you’ve learned from that as well, though, that you’ve perhaps taken into your future fights now?


Just the main thing and the only thing is just don’t get EMOTIONAL. Don’t get in your emotions. You know don’t get angry, don’t let the mind games kick in, that’s it man. Do your thing.


And when you say mind games there as well, Jonathan, are you referring to stuff that goes on BEFORE the fight or predominantly the other stuff that goes on IN the fight as well?


No, no, never stuff before. A fight for a fight. I’m always switched on you know 100%, always switched on.

But, you know, there’s little things like when I was in there the last fight with Rodtang, I was scoring, scoring, and I was grabbing him and I wanted to just score, score and clinch…

But then, when I was in there, I was thinking to myself, “people don’t want to see this. Why are you grabbing him? Don’t grab him. Don’t look scared.”

Like, don’t care about that, don’t care what people think. Like, just do what you have to do to win and erm, I fell into a war of him, which I wasn’t meant to do. I’m not sure my trainer was happy with me.


But, there were lots of conversations, obviously, going on in your head as you’re fighting as well – that you were kind of discussing with yourself there, about what you should be doing.


Yeah, of course. One of them was, one of them was “just clinch him.” But then one of them… that shoulder, was saying “clinch”, that shoulder was saying, “don’t clinch, people think you’re scared.”


Interesting. Yeah. Yeah. Where do you think that that comes from? You thinking that the clinch makes you look scared though?


I was thinking more of, like, the crowd. Like, they wanted to see a war. You see, with the sort of ONE championships fan base, and that Rodtang, sort of adrenalin rush, powerhouse. They want to see that, get excited.

And I thought, alright. Well, if he wants to do that, I can do that. And it just went out the window to be fair.

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Don Heatrick

Founder of Heatrick Strength and Conditioning

Don Heatrick is a family man from the UK, former mechanical design engineer, European Muay Thai silver medallist, former pro Thai boxer (ranked 4th in UK while aged 40-years), a Muay Thai coach, podcast host, and the go-to expert on Muay Thai performance training with over 25 years of coaching experience.

Don helps ambitious fighters and coaches take their game to the next level by bridging the gap between Strength & Conditioning, Performance Science, and Muay Thai.

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