Muay thai is the art of eight limbs. It’s called one of the most destructive arts in the world. Some fighters in Thailand train from childhood and amass hundreds of fights under their belts. There are many champs, but who is the greatest muay thai fighter of all time? Here is a list of the top boxers in no particular order.
In this Article
What is the Difference Between Muay Thai and Kickboxing?
Although they look similar, muay thai and kickboxing follow different rulesets.
Here are general muay thai rules:
- You can strike with hands, feet (shins), elbows, and knees
- You can work in the clinch and do throws
- You can sweep if kicking out support leg with the front of your shin/foot
- You can only catch kicks and follow up with pushes (plow), pulls, sweeps, and strikes
Kickboxing is a little more restrictive. There is usually either no clinching or limited clinching, and no elbows.
This isn’t a matter of which style is better, there are just different rules. A fighter’s ability to dominate in a ruleset is what makes them great at that style of fighting. Some fighters can cross over from kickboxing to muay thai and do great.
Retired Muay Thai Fighters
Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn
Record: 110 – 2 – 2
Wins by KO: 40
Weight Class: Lightweight
Dieselnoi is a muay thai legend. He was the Lumpinee lightweight champ from 1981 – 1985 when he was forced to retire because the division was cleaned out.
His devasting ability to throw knee strikes earned him the nickname The Sky Piercing Knee Kicker.
- 1981–85 Undefeated Lumpinee Stadium Lightweight Champion
Record: 135 – 15
Weight Class: Super Featherweight
Pudpadnoi was one of the greatest of all time. He was a master when it came to timing and countering.
He dominated in the 70s and earned the nickname “Golden Leg” for his devasting left kick.
- Lumpinee Stadium 130 lb Champion
- Lumpinee Stadium 122 lb Champion
- Lumpinee Stadium 112 lb Champion
Record: 200 – 48 – 2
Wins by KO: 15
Weight Class: Featherweight
Chamuakpetch is a golden era beast who was known for throwing some of the most dangerous and accurate knees in muay thai.
In the 80s and 90s, he amassed nine titles at Lumipinee and Rajadamnern. He accomplished this feat while defeating some of the other best fighters at the time, including Samart who is also on this list.
After retiring he went on to professional boxing and even won the PABA featherweight title.
- 1994 Rajadamnern Stadium 122 lb Champion
- 1994 Rajadamnern Stadium 126 lb Champion
- 1990 Rajadamnern Stadium 126 lb Champion
- 1989 Rajadamnern Stadium 122 lb Champion
- 1983 Lumpinee Stadium 115 lb Champion
- 1982 Lumpinee Stadium 112 lb Champion
- 1981 Lumpinee Stadium 105 lb Champion
- 1980 Rajadamnern Stadium 105 lb Champion
- 1980 Lumpinee Stadium 102 lb Champion
Record: 130 – 18 – 2
Wins by KO: 30
Weight Class: Lightweight
Many consider Samart the greatest muay thai fighter of all time. He rose to prominence in the 1980s during the golden era of muay thai. He then switched to boxing where he captured a WBC junior featherweight title. In the 90s, Samart made a comeback to muay thai and was still able to defeat some greats.
Samart is known for his high fight IQ. It’s his knowledge of fighting and reflexes that give him his evasiveness in the ring. Watching him fight is like watching Neo in The Matrix.
- 1981 Lumpinee Stadium 126 lb Champion
- 1981 Lumpinee Stadium 115 lb Champion
- 1980 Lumpinee Stadium 108 lb Champion
- 1980 Lumpinee Stadium 105 lb Champion
Record: 280 – 15 – 5
Wins by KO: 86
Weight Class: Lightweight
Like other fighters on this list, Namsaknoi is a Lumpinee Stadium champ. He won the title in three different weight classes, and he even went undefeated between 2000 and 2006 at 135 lbs. His streak earned him the nickname Emperor.
Namsaknoi was also one of the few fighters to defeat Saenchai who is also on this list.
Namsaknoi’s career ended early when he had a dispute with his camp at Por Pramuk over his earnings. No other gym could afford Namsaknoi’s contract, so he was forced to retire. I can’t help but think about how many more titles he would have won.
- 2010 WAKO World Muay Thai 154 lb Champion
- 2000–2006 Lumpinee Stadium 135 lb Champion
- 1999 Lumpinee Stadium 130 lb Champion
- 1995 Lumpinee Stadium 112 lb Champion
- 1995 WMC World 112 lb Champion
- Ford Ranger Tournament 126 lbs Champion
Record: 290 – 9 – 1
Apidej was a fighter who dominated in the classic era of muay thai. He is known for kicking Sompong so hard in their 1963 match, that he broke both of his arms.
The King of Thailand recognized Apidej as the Fighter of the Century. He is also one of the fighters who paved the way for the golden era of muay thai.
Active Muay Thai Fighters
Record: 202 – 73 – 4
Wins by KO: 78
Weight Class: Middleweight, Super Middleweight
Yodsanklai Fairtex also known as Yod is a Thai beast who trains out of Fairtex Gym.
Yod is one of the most dominant muay thai fighters in the world. He’s nicknamed “The Boxing Computer” because of his fight IQ. Combine that with his skill, footwork, timing, and knockout power and you got a beast. Once he got a read on you in a fight, you had little to no chance.
He’s was also the Lumpinee Stadium Champion in both flyweight and middleweight classes. If that wasn’t enough, he also amassed an impressive resume of titles below.
- 2014 Lion Fight Middleweight 154 lb Champion
- 2013 Thai Fight 154 lb Tournament Champion
- 2013 Lion Fight Middleweight 154 lb Champion
- 2012 WMC World Middleweight 160 lb Champion
- 2010 WMC/S1 King’s Cup Challenger tournament Champion
- 2009 WPMF World Super Middleweight 168 lb Champion
- 2008 Super 8 Guinea tournament Champion
- 2008 WMC World Middleweight 160 lb Champion
- 2008 WMC Contender Asia Champion
- 2008 KO World Series Auckland Middleweight Champion
- 2006 WPMF World Super Middleweight 54 lb Champion
- 2005-2009 WBC Muay Thai World Super Welterweight 154 lb Champion
- 2005 PAT Super Welterweight 154 lb Champion
- 2005 Lumpinee Stadium 147 lbs Champion
- 2001 Lumpinee Stadium 112 lbs Champion
Record: 299 – 41 – 5
Wins by KO: 40
Weight Class: Lightweight, Welterweight
It’s impossible to put a list of the top muay thai fighters together without mentioning Saenchai. He’s a Lumpinee Champion in four different weight classes: super flyweight, bantamweight, super featherweight (twice), and lightweight.
What makes Saenchai so unique is his ability to impose his will on opponents. He reads other fighters like a book and makes it look likes he’s toying with them. His technical skill and fight IQ are so high that he can give up weight advantage to make fights more “even”.
Saenchai has a deep mastery of using trickery in fights. Combine his use of setups, fakes, and feints with his mastery of counters and sweeps and what you get is a muay thai monster.
- 2020 YOKKAO Diamond Welterweight Champion
- 2019 THAI FIGHT Junior Middleweight King’s Cup Champion
- 2018 THAI FIGHT Welterweight Champion
- 2012 Muay Thai Warriors Welterweight Champion
- 2012 WPMF World Welterweight 147 lb Champion
- 2011 WBC Diamond World Champion
- 2010 WMC World Lightweight 135 lb Champion
- 2010 Lumpinee Stadium Lightweight 135 lb Champion
- 2010 Toyota Cup tournament Champion
- 2010 MTAA World Lightweight Champion
- 2006 Lumpinee Stadium Super Featherweight 130 lb Champion
- 2005 Lumpinee Stadium Super Featherweight 130 lb Champion
- 1998 Lumpinee Stadium Bantamweight 118 lb Champion
- 1997 Lumpinee Stadium Super Flyweight 115 lb Champion
Record: 369 – 47 – 9
Weight Class: Strawweight
Sam-A is one of the best active fighters on the list. He’s won the Thailand Championship in four different weight classes and the Lumpinee Stadium Championship in two.
He is the current Strawweight Champion for both ONE Muay Thai and ONE Kickboxing, becoming the second fighter to be the champion in two different sports for ONE Championship. He also held the first ONE Muay Thai Flyweight belt.
His master-level defensive skils and counter-attacks are what set him apart from other fighters.
- ONE Championship Muay Thai 125 lb World Champion
- ONE Championship Muay Thai 135 lb World Champion
- 2015 Toyota Marathon Tournament 126 lb Champion
- Thailand 126 lb Champion
- WBC Muay Thai International 132 lb Champion
- Thailand 122 lb Champion
- 2008 Lumpinee Stadium 118 lb Champion
- Thailand 118 lb Champion
- Thailand 115lb Champion
- 2004 Lumpinee Stadium 115 lb Champion
Record: 238 – 24 – 12
Wins by KO: 72
Weight Class: Featherweight, Lightweight, Welterweight
Buakaw is a legend. He might not have prestigious titles from Lumpinee or Rajadamnern, but what he did was dominate in international kickboxing. His performance helped bring a resurgence to the sport of muay thai in the early 2000s.
- 2016 Kunlun Fight Muaythai 165 lb World Championship
- 2016 PFC Junior Middle Weight Championship
- 2014-2015 WMC Muaythai 154 lb World Champion
- 2014 WBC Muaythai Diamond World Championship
- 2012 Thai Fight Tournament Champion
- 2011 Thai Fight Tournament Champion
- 2011 WMC Muaythai 154 lb World Champion
- 2009 WMC/MAD Muaythai 154 lb World Champion
- 2006-2007 WMC Muaythai 154 lb World Champion
- 2005 S-1 154 lb World Champion
- 2005 MTA World Champion
- 2003 KOMA GP 135 lb Champion
- 2002 Omnoi Stadium 135 lb Champion
- 2002 Toyota Muay Thai Marathon Tournament 140 lbs Champion
- 2001 Thailand (PAT) 126 lb Champion
- 2000 Omnoi Stadium 126 lb Champion
What did you think of this list? Is there anyone I missed. Let me know in the comments.