Walter Goncalves began his ONE Championship career with a three-round war with Rodtang Jitmuangnon. Proving he could hang with the best in the world, the Brazilian has been hopeful of returning to the title picture. His next attempt will come at ONE Fight Night 17 on Friday, December 8.
The flyweight Muay Thai bout with Jacob Smith will also mark Goncalves’ return to Muay Thai.
The Brazilian tried his hand at MMA in his last outing in July. While he still plans to compete in the sport, he remains positive after reflecting on his unanimous decision loss to Banma Duoji.
“As it was my first MMA fight, it was an incredible feeling. There’s no way to describe it. I just know that I want to fight MMA more often, and I’m going to train a lot more for that. One day, I want to be an MMA World Champion,” Goncalves told ONE.
“I don’t think anything went wrong [in the fight]. He was better than me that day because in MMA he is much more experienced than me. But that didn’t frustrate me at all. It just made me want to pursue my dream more.”
“Iron Hands” may be hopeful of a future MMA career, but his focus now is solely on Muay Thai.
Goncalves remains steadfast in his pursuit of his ultimate dream, a dream that is still the picture of his Thai rival holding the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship.
“I want to achieve my goal of becoming a Muay Thai World Champion. I feel like it’s something that’s closest to me as it’s where I feel most confident and comfortable,” the Brazilian said.
“I hope to be able to fulfill my dream of becoming a ONE Championship World Champion and then being able to buy a house for my family.”
To make his first step back into the title picture, he must defeat the crafty Brit.
Smith has his own three-round bout with Rodtang, and Goncalves was impressed by what the English star brings to the table.
“I watched Jacob Smith’s fight against Rodtang, and I saw that he is a strong guy, that he moves forward all the time, that wherever he hits, he hurts his opponent, and that he also takes hits well,” Goncalves remarked.
“I believe that his strong points are his kicks and punches.”
However, for all the positives, Goncalves also sees holes in his opponent’s game. The Brazilian striker is adamant that the speed of this matchup could be the deciding factor if he can dictate the pace once the bell rings.
“I think his weak point is his speed. I think he fights a lot standing still, and I’m faster than him. So, I think this could be a good path to explore in this fight. I believe it will be a good game for me,” Goncalves said.
“In addition to my agility, I believe that the strength of my blows will make a difference in this fight in my favor.”
“I’ll try to explore the gaps in his game. I don’t know how it will play out, but I really hope that I can get a knockout victory.”
ONE Fight Night 17 airs live on Prime Video at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST on Friday, December 8. The event is free for all Amazon Prime members based in the U.S. and Canada.