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‘I Have A Champion’s Mindset’: Jonathan Di Bella Ready To Reclaim Gold At ONE Friday Fights 68

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Jonathan Di Bella was once the ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Champion. However, illness took the gold from him prior to ONE Friday Fights 58. On Friday, June 28, he has a chance to reclaim his throne against Prajanchai PK Saenchai at ONE Friday Fights 68.

In an interview with ONE Championship, Di Bella recounted the fight week illness his last time in Thailand. As much as he tried to battle through it leading up to the bout, it just wasn’t meant to be. He even did a faceoff with Prajanchai and tried to avoid going viral for all the wrong reasons. 

“I went to do the faceoff because I was hoping that the fight was still going on. I was going to the hospital, and I thought maybe they could give me something to make me feel better. I remember facing off, and I was holding in my puke. I was about to throw up on him. I’m like, ‘Don’t throw up on him. This thing’s going viral if I puke,’” Di Bella recalled to ONE.

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Di Bella ended up in the hospital when the illness became too much. Once he began to recover, the reality of what transpired sunk in and left him without the title. The former king recounted the moment he realized his crown had been taken.

“So we went to the hospital, I threw up, they put me back on the bed, they put IVs in me, and I woke up in my hotel room the next day. I don’t remember what happened. I was still not feeling well. But then I started realizing I had lost my belt, and I couldn’t believe this had happened. As soon as I found out, it was heartbreaking,” the Italian-Canadian remarked.

But entering ONE Friday Fights 68, Di Bella is refocused on the task at hand. There is a chip on his shoulder, and competing in hostile territory adds even more motivation to his camp. Specifically, Di Bella is drawing inspiration from a Sylvester Stallone classic.

“I have a champion’s mindset, but now I’m the underdog, so I feel even more focused. I want to win every fight, but especially now that I don’t have the belt anymore, I want to bring it back for my family. That’s my motivation. Fighting in his hometown in front of his family, his people, I feel like it’s a Rocky vs. Drago type of story. I’m going in there with a Rocky mentality and getting my belt back,” Di Bella said.

Prajanchai has been on a run lately, including a highlight-reel finish of Joseph Lasiri. Di Bella is aware of the speed and power of his opponent and feels the skills between the two are equal. The winner in Bangkok will be determined by what lies within the brain and will be a match of who can outthink the other.

“I believe whoever uses their IQ and whoever is smarter will win the fight. Fans should expect a technical battle. But then it could be technical or it could be a crazy war. It depends on how he comes out and how I come out. Who knows? But they should expect something cool and a very good fight,” the former champion stated.

Di Bella feels the preparation is an extended camp from ONE Friday Fights 58. Although the circumstances were not ideal, it has simply given him more time to prepare for the Thai star. And now, in the main event, he is ready to provide fans with a memorable title tilt he expects to win.

“The circumstances changed, but I was ready for him and very excited to compete against him in April. We just had to take some more time. We kept sharp when we came back to the gym, and that’s it. It was repetition of the things we were doing before for him. I’ve just got to go in there and be ready for everything that he has. I can’t predict anything that will happen in the fight – I just predict a win for myself,” Di Bella said.

ONE Friday Fights 68 airs live on Friday, June 28, from Lumpinee Boxing Stadium. The action begins at 8:30 a.m. ET/5:30 a.m. PT. ONE Friday Fights 68 is available via global pay-per-view at

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Jeremy Brand is an experienced MMA writer and columnist. He is the founder of, and has represented the company with media credentials at many mixed martial arts fights. Jeremy is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training in BC, Canada.