One Warrior Series athlete Chan Samart owes a lot to martial arts, and the talented 26-year-old shows his gratitude by stepping into the ring as often as his body allows him.
Coming from a troubled background, Samart turned his life around when he found martial arts as a teenager.
“I’ve actually loved martial arts since I was a young kid, but I didn’t know how or where to start training,” Samart explains.
“My home province doesn’t have many gyms.”
Describing himself as a troublemaker that was up to no good, he took a leap of faith when he without any proper training signed up to compete in a local Kun Khmer event.
“They saw that I fought hard and had a strong mind, so they decided to bring me to Phnom Penh to train.”
Based at the well-renowned Cambodian Top Team (CTT), Samart now shares the facilities with ONE Championship stars like Ren Saroth and promotional newcomer Nou Srey Pov.
Samart made his ONE Championship debut back in 2015 when the organization arranged ONE: KINGDOM OF KHMER in Phnom Penh.
But it was not until last year that he emerged as a promising up-and-coming mixed martial artist, scoring a first-round knockout against Thailand’s Detchadin Srosirisuphathin in the organization’s developmental league One Warrior Series (OWS).
“That fight in Singapore, I was not very confident and thought I only had a 50% chance of winning,” Samart explains.
“It helped a lot that I had my coach Chan Reach, my sister and my brother there supporting me.”
“My trainer told me what to do and how to fight, but he didn’t scream his instructions, he just talked normally, and I ultimately ended up with the knockout.”
Chan Samart and Ren Saroth fights this weekend in Phnom Penh
Even though Samart’s mixed martial arts bouts have been few and with years in between, he looks to be more active in upcoming years.
Like many others, he sees a lot of promise for the sport in Cambodia.
“In the future, I want to do both Kun Khmer and more MMA,” Samart states.
“I want to have a diverse skill set, and I actually prefer fighting in MMA, it’s less painful than Kun Khmer.”
This Sunday, both Samart and ONE Championship star Ren Saroth will be competing in a Phnom Penh Kun Khmer showdown, and the two teammates have been training hard to cement their positions at the very top of the sport.
“It is very comforting that we can fight on the same day,”
“Saroth is fighting in the morning, and I’m competing in the evening. I have been training hard; therefore, I don’t worry too much about this fight.”
Ahead of his Kun Khmer bout, Samart chooses to enter the ring without knowing anything about his opponent.
He reveals he does not study any video material because he prefers to walk in with a clean slate and trust his abilities.
“I don’t want to worry about his attacks or anything,” Samart explains.
“The only thing I need to know is: ‘That guy is my opponent, and I’m just going to go in and fight him.”