Edgar Tabares will have a mountain to climb in his ONE Championship debut at ONE Fight Night 10 on Prime Video. In his first chance on the global stage, Tabares will co-main event the evening against Rodtang Jitmuangnon for Muay Thai gold.
But it won’t be Tabares’ first title entanglement. The Mexican athlete earned his opportunity in part by his success in 2022 when he captured a WBC Muay Thai International Championship. Becoming the first Mexican to claim such an honor was important for Tabares.
“It was an honor. It was special to me because I was the first Mexican, but I didn’t want to be the last. I want to make way for every single Mexican to get this kind of belt or championship, or experience,” said Tabares.
That is when the door came open for the 28-year-old at ONE.
The phone call came as a surprise, but it was something that had long been in the plans for Tabares. The talented flyweight martial artist had been reaching out to try and get an opportunity in the most talent-rich division in the sport.
“In the last year, I was like, ‘Hey ONE, I want to be [competing for you guys],’ but I understood that I need to grow up as a fighter. So I focus on the WBC Muay Thai fighters. I focus on the Budo Sento fights. Budo Sento is a promotion here in Mexico. It’s the same as ONE. We fight in a cage. We fight with MMA gloves, and we fight in rounds like ONE. I kept my focus on that,” said the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title challenger.
“Because I said, ‘Okay, I want to fight in ONE, I want to fight this, I need to understand ONE’s game.’ So, I focused on that. I put my trust in God. I prayed, and one Sunday, I was in my church, sitting, and then I looked at my phone and saw, ‘Hey, Edgar, would you like to fight in ONE?’”
Although he was ecstatic to get a chance to join the ONE roster, Tabares did not realize just how big the opportunity was at first. When he saw the other man across from him on the bout sheet, there was hesitation.
Thankfully, for Tabares, his wife was there to tell him to seize the day.
“I didn’t realize that I had to fight Rodtang. I just read the message that says, ‘Would you like to fight in ONE?’ But when I read my opponent, I said no. I have to say my first thought was no. But my wife told me, ‘Hey, this is your opportunity. You have to take it. Maybe they won’t call you anymore,’” said Tabares.
“So, it was a very hard decision for me. But I had to say yes. I don’t know if ONE will call me again. So, I said yes. I didn’t have a visa. I didn’t have anything. But yes, and thank God, everything is going well.”
The Mexican star is well aware of Rodtang’s strengths. He knows “The Iron Man” got that nickname for a reason. Tabares is setting out to use his mind against Rodtang’s braun, much like a classic confrontation inside a bullring.
“I would have liked to have some fights before that. But what the hell, here in Mexico we say ‘tomar el toro por los cuernos.’ Take the bull by the horns. I know Rodtang is a beast, but I want to dominate that beast,” said Tabares.
“I am so excited to fight with Rodtang. This is one of my dreams. To fight for the ONE World Championship, it’s something. It is a gift from God to me. It’s a gift. And I am going to pursue it as that. I don’t want to wait. The dream here is sitting on my chair. I have to work hard for that dream.”
With the date fast approaching, Tabares is sending one last message to the reigning flyweight king. All the chips are on the table, and the 28-year-old is not getting up from his seat before the cards are dealt.
“Rodtang, it’s an honor. It’s a pleasure to fight with you. I know that for you, I may be just another opponent. But I would like to be your biggest opponent, with all the respect that you deserve.”
ONE Fight Night 10 airs live on Prime Video at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Friday, May 5, from the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo. The event is free for all Amazon Prime subscribers based in the U.S. and Canada.