Continuing his journey in the world biggest martial arts organization, the Khmer Warrior has tasted both defeat and victories inside the cage, but he is thankful for the many lessons he has learned as he looks at the coming year.
“I am happy I got a lot of opportunities to compete, however, 2018 was not the success I would have wished,” Saroth explains.
“If I would have had the coaches I have now, I think things would have played out very differently.”
Saroth’s sole victory in 2018 proved to be a driving force forward and an achievement to show both himself and Cambodia that he has what it takes to find success in The Home of Martial Arts.
On 23 June he took on Indonesian featherweight Mario Satya Wirawan at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER, and even though Saroth spent a lot of time on his back, he showcased a very active guard and an overall maturity in his ground game.
Saroth’s takedown defense and slicing elbows would ultimately lead to a stoppage in the third round, and the Cambodian’s second win by finish in ONE Championship.
“When I won the fight in Macau, that was my happiest moment of 2018,” Saroth shares.
“The referee decided to stop the fight after I managed to damage my opponent on both his face and head. I was very happy.”
Ren Saroth wants to train at Yorky MMA in Bangkok
Even though Saroth’s last bout in mixed martial arts ended up being a submission loss to Chinese talent Changxin Fu at ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES in October, the talented Cambodian thinks positively about the year to come.
As the year is ending, CTT has already begun their collaboration with former ONE athlete and Yorky MMA founder Nicholas “JJ” Lee.
Saroth hopes to have the opportunity to train at the Bangkok gym to continue his evolution as a professional mixed martial artist.
“In Cambodia, most of my training partners only knows Kun Khmer. If I go to [Lee’s] club in Bangkok, there are many MMA students I can practice and train with.”
“If I can train in Thailand more often – as planned – I will fight better in international competition.”
The gyms collaboration with Lee has already proved successful as it has injected Saroth with new energy and a confident look on 2019.
At CTT, Saroth now trains three hours of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu every day, and he continues to improve his stand-up talent with new Kun Khmer skills.
Even though his background lies in the local martial art of Kun Khmer, it is in mixed martial arts that Saroth sees a future.
“During 2018, most of my fights were in Kun Khmer. In 2019, I will make sure that at least 80 % are in MMA.”
“I want to focus on learning more MMA because there will be a lot of MMA competition in Cambodia in the future,” Saroth continues.
“Later on, I plan to become an MMA coach because I know there aren’t many MMA coaches here – yet.”