British bantamweight superstar, Jonathan Haggerty (21-4-0) is the current ONE Muay Thai World Champion, and is looking to add the vacant ONE Kickboxing World title to his collection when he faces Fabricio Andrade (20-3-0) at ONE Fight Night 16 on Prime Video, Nov. 3 (EDT).
Now living in Thailand, M&F caught up with the superfast striker to find out how he conditions himself mentally and physically to be the very best, and why he jokes that he eats training for breakfast.
A two-sport kingpin is set to be crowned when the Muay Thai World Champion squares off against the MMA World Champion in a battle for the division’s vacant kickboxing belt. Haggerty tells M&F that he “leaves no stone unturned” when it comes to his preparation, even moving from London to Thailand in order stay close to the action at all times. “I’ve moved out here permanently now,” says Haggerty. “I’m loving it. I’m living the dream.” No doubt, such travels would have seemed almost impossible to his younger self, growing up around the bustling Walworth Road. “I knew I had the talent that it takes to get to the top, but where I am now is unbelievable and I’m very thankful.”
Achieving the unbelievable has been a staple of this athlete’s career so far. Having been introduced to Muay Thai by his father; John (who was an MMA competitor), a 7-year-old Haggerty nervously attended his first group session and swiftly drove his sparring partner to tears after kicking him in the head. “From then onwards, I thought; I love this sport,” he laughs. Haggerty began competing from the age of 12 and now at 26, he’s has been a pro for nearly a decade.
As an up-and-comer, Haggerty got off to an incredible start, winning his first 8 professional fights and attaining the ISKA World-Super-Featherweight Muay Thai belt along the way. While Haggerty suffered his first loss to Ja Kiatphontip, he rebounded with a strong statement and knocked out Keith McLachlan in the second round during their bout at Yokkao 29, cementing him as a force to be reckoned with.
To Be the Best, You Have to Beat the Best
“I mean, the hard work never stops, you know?” says Haggerty, who explains that he’s often accepted fights with opponents that were more experienced than him. “I took the risks sometimes, and it prospered.” When those fights didn’t go his way, he used those losses as a learning experience, and came back better. “I like to challenge myself,” he explains. “I never like an easy fight. A lot of people say to me ‘ah, why are you taking this fight? Why are you taking that fight? I say I want to challenge the best, even if it means I have to step up a weight and fight someone a lot heavier than me, I’m always up for the challenge and it makes me better in myself.’
Now residing in Thailand, Haggerty trains at the Lamai Muay Thai Camp (also known as WMC) on Lamai beach. “I’ve got everything I need,” explains the champ. “I’m just basically around traditional Muay Thai … a lot less distractions,”
Jonathan Haggerty Eats Training for Breakfast
Haggerty’s day begins at around 8 a.m. He drinks a coffee and makes his way to training by 10am. That first training session of the day is done on a fast. “I can’t really eat in the morning,” says the fighter. “I feel like training in the morning on an empty stomach is a lot better for me. I mean; training is my breakfast,” laughs Haggerty. The champs’ final training session of the day is a gym workout and starts at 5pm, lasting for around 2 hours. Finally ready to chill, the Englishman says that he settles down with some YouTube before heading to bed by 11pm. While his macros are worked out for him by a nutritionist, this elite athlete must stay on top of his hydration by drinking frequently and refuelling with protein shakes between meals. Haggerty also supplements with zinc and magnesium to aid with metabolism, bolster recovery, and reduce levels of fatigue.
To Avoid Failure in Combat, Jonathan Haggerty Seeks Failure in Training
With gold around his waist and an enviable 21-4-0 record, this martial artist has learned what works best for his body, and is also appreciating the calm of his new environment when compared to the busy, noisy, streets of London. But, when it comes to training, Haggerty goes flat out, in order to figure out his limits and try to push beyond them. With conditioning being a key aspect of any fighters arsenal, ‘The General’ goes all out on the mat and in the gym. “I’m the first one in and the last one out,” he explains. Gym sessions include an hour on the pads, running, moderate weight lifting, and plyometric exercises to work on his explosive power. It’s all designed to push him towards exhaustion.
Haggerty begins each gym session with one hundred kicks, that’s 50 with each leg, against pads being held by Muay-Tahi-champ-turned-trainer, Christian Knowles but for added measure, Haggerty receives some digs in return while trying to complete those kicks. Then it’s on to the plyo. “I feel like a lot of box jumps do come in handy,” shares Haggerty, explaining that when he’s between rounds in an actual fight, and heads back to his corner, this is the time when fighters will realize how fatigued their legs are. “Like jelly,” he says, explaining that training with a high frequency of box jumps is a great way to prepare his legs for the physicality of competition.
Because his upcoming title clash was initially delayed, Haggerty has now been in camp for around 12 weeks. “So, if I’m not ready now, I’ll never be ready,” he says with a smile. “It’s gonna be a great fight, you know? Fabricio Andrade is a great striker, like everyone in the ONE Championship roster. Everybody’s great. Top strikers, top athletes .. He’s gonna come with the fire, I’m gonna come with my fire, and we’re just gonna have to see who goes out first.”
Jonathan Haggerty takes on Fabricio Andrade at ONE Fight Night 16 on Prime Video, November 3. For more information visit: Onefc.com