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They're Great, But Not The Greatest

  • Written by Dave Walsh

A casual sports fan is asked who the greatest basketball player of all time is. Without thinking too long the fan replies and says Michael Jordan. When asked who the greatest football player is, the fan says Jim Brown. The fan continues to answer the same question from various sports. Gretzky, Pele, Mays, Robinson etc... The answers the fan gives are generally accepted by most sport pundits.

A casual fight fan is asked who the greatest Muay Thai fighter of all time is. The fan responds with Buakaw Por. Pramuk, and Ramon Dekkers. Which, unfortunately is what most fight fans would say. 

According to various highlight reels, and from his fans, Ramon Dekkers was the first foreign fighter to win fighter of the year in Thailand. This is not true at all. They claim he won the award in 1992, but the actual winner was Jaroensap Kiatbanchong. It is possible he won best foreign fighter, but he never won fighter of the year, yet many still believe he did. Kind of hard to be fighter of the year when you never held a title in any of the major stadiums (Lumpinee Stadium, and Rajadamnern Stadium) isn't it? His fans claim he beat the best fighters from Thailand, and on occasions he did. He violently took out Coban Lookchaomaesaitong, and also holds wins over Nampon NongkeePahuyuth, and Sangtienoi Sor. Rungrot. Granted Sangtienoi had seen better days, and Nampon had a fun night on the town the day before, but still, he got the W's. But more times than not he was outclassed by the Thai's. The same 3 names above also have wins over Dekkers, as does former fighter of the year Orono Por. Muang Ubon. The ever popular Sakmongkol Sitnchuchoke was only 17 when he beat Dekkers. Den Muangsurin outclassed him over 5 rounds, and a prime Sangtienoi clowned him. Being an 8 time world champion is great, but the true world champ has to get it in Lumpinee, or Raja. 

At the end of the day Ramon Dekkers was an awesome fighter, and a top 10 foreign Muay Thai fighter, but not the best Muay Thai fighter ever, or even top 50 or 100 for that matter. Joe "OHHH" Rogan and his comments about Dekkers, and Kaman being the greatest are incongruous and flat out not true. 

Where to begin with Buakaw Por. Pramuk? First off being a champion in K-1 does not make you the greatest Muay Thai fighter ever. Second, like Dekkers, Buakaw never held any major stadium titles. He was ranked high at one point and may have became a champion had he stayed in Thailand, but he chose the money, the myth, and the fame. Even in his homeland most people view him more as an attraction or celebrity, and not a fighter. Would the greatest Muay Thai fighter of all time and his handlers refuse to fight the best? Buakaw and his camp do. They've been running from the best Thai's for years, hence why he's viewed as a celebrity and not a fighter. It is rumored he accepted a fight with Yodsanklai Fairtex to take place sometime in the upcoming months. Will it happen? I highly doubt it. If it does happen? Myth takes a beating. 

Great ambassador for Muay Thai? I suppose. Greatest Muay Thai fighter ever? Not even in the discussion. He is to Muay Thai as Royce Gracie is to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 

Ramon Dekkers, and Buakaw Por. Pramuk both have there place in fighting history. One as a ballsy "turbine from hell" who would fight the best and always put on a fun fight regardless of whether he won or not. The other, a good Muay Thai fighter who took his skills and abilities to kickboxing and became great in that sport. But please people, don't confuse Muay Thai with kickboxing. 

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