Mikey Musumeci may be on top of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world, but the ONE Championship flyweight king is expanding his horizons. The American submission ace has teased entry into MMA, and part of that journey is improving his striking. During a sojourn in Thailand, Musumeci got to experience “the art of eight limbs” in the sport’s birthplace.
“My favorite thing when I was living in Thailand the past two months was hanging out at PK Saenchai because it was all up-and-coming, young, hungry fighters, and they were all at the gym grinding together. So whenever I was there, I would feel their energy of that grinding, tough feeling,” Musumeci told ONE.
The New Jersey native got to train with elite strikers during his time abroad, including former ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Hama. Although “Darth Rigatoni” has not put a timetable on his MMA dreams, it is clear these are the first steps to making a viable run in the sport. There is no better place than Thailand to strengthen one’s striking.
In addition to the technical aspects, the 27-year-old also found similarities between Muay Thai and BJJ regarding training. The work ethic between the sports is similar and drives each participant to be better. According to Musumeci, a bond is built between athletes who put in the hard work on the mats.
“While you’re dying and suffering [in Muay Thai training], everyone else is too, so it builds that camaraderie. You’re dying, but it’s a vibe of everyone dying together, so it’s not as hard, and you feel hungry. Everyone is showing up every day to train, so why are you not? You should be there also, so it makes you motivated,” Musumeci stated.
Muay Thai has not just been a side project for Musumeci. Training in the sport has also assisted him in his grappling career. “Darth Rigatoni” has found a new way to keep his cardio up while he prepares to attack more challenges in the grappling world.
“Muay Thai is the best for conditioning. So that’s my next secret that I’m gonna use for my conditioning for jiu-jitsu. You do Muay Thai, and then jiu-jitsu feels like the easiest thing ever.”
The reason for increased cardio? The power of Muay Thai. As the 27-year-old continues his martial arts journey, he realizes how each art can benefit the other. For Muay Thai, the constant grind has paid off with increased stamina.
“Dude, you die. It’s like pure power and sprints. Every punch and kick is 100 percent power. So then you do jiu-jitsu training and you’re laughing. There’s nothing harder than that on your body.”