T Nation

Saenchai to MMA


#1

I know there are a few muay thai fans on here, doubt any casual fans have heard of Saenchai but he is the king of muay thai. P4P #1, easily the fighter of our generation. One of the greatest of all time etc.

He has come out and will be switching to MMA, training at Tristar with GSP and co, and he wants to fight McGregor.

Does anyone think he can make it in MMA? His striking would be second to none, his clinch work is out of this world, ragdolls guys much bigger than him, so I feel he would pick up enough of the ground game to be able to defend himself (much like McGregor I guess), but I am at best a casual UFC fan and have never grappled, so will happily admit I don’t know what I am talking about.


#2

I don’t know the particulars of what you’re talking about - never heard of the muay Thai dude and am only barely cognizant of McGregor - but I can tell you that you need a whole different skillset to compete in MMA.

It’s like a sprinter who runs the fastest fucking 40 yard-dash you’ve ever seen. He beats everyone’s ass at track and field … but if he joins the football team, who knows how good he’ll be at that? He’s fast, yea, but that’s only part of the gridiron game.

So the answer, in my opinion, is maybe … ?


#3

With the way corrupt Dana White favors strikers (as he feels they are more exciting to watch) he would have a very good chance in the UFC.


#4

Saenchai was good for Muay Thai, I don’t know if he’ll be able to transition well to MMA though (especially vs McGregor).

Saenchai has great kicks, as he should, but his punches aren’t nearly or crisp or as powerful. I think his head movement and footwork are also poor when placed in MMA. It’s a lot easier to dodge a kick to the head than a punch, and McGregor has quick hands and sets a good pace. That and he’d have to make up for a significant weight discrepancy. Maybe Saenchai would actually be one of the first fighters to target that lead leg that McGregor leaves out there.

Outside of McGregor, he’d have to deal with a slew of grapplers that I feel he would be ill prepared for. I think it would be more interesting to see him compete against Cruz et al at 135.


#5

I would suppose this would be something like a football player swapping to rugby. The sports are similar but, then again, they aren’t.


#6

This would be like arguably the greatest footballer of all time switching to rugby, and going to train with one of the most highly regarded rugby teams in the world.


#7

I’d say it’s more akin to a renowned soccer player switching over to rugby. Could it work? Yeah. There are elements that would definitely carry over across sports. But keep in mind that it is, in fact, a different sport.

There’s also the aspect that just because a coach/program is prestigious doesn’t mean that it will be the best fit for the athlete. I’m sure Saenchai could stand out at any MMA gym, and I’m sure that Zahabi and the fighters at TriStar have the tools to vastly help the aspects on which he needs improvement in order to compete in the UFC. But that doesn’t mean that TriStar will be the best option for him.

Also, Dieselnoi and Samart might object to Saenchai being arguably the greatest.