At ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON in Shanghai, China this 8 September, ONE Championship will welcome one of the most decorated martial artists in the world in Daniel “The Rock” Dawson.
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia’s Dawson will be facing Mustapha “The Flying Dragon” Haida in a ONE Super Series 73.0-kilogram kickboxing bout that is sure to get the fans at the Baoshan Arena on their feet.
Set to make his debut for the biggest martial arts promotion in Asia, Dawson is nothing short of thrilled to showcase his set of skills to some of the world’s most appreciative fans.
“I’m extremely excited to be fighting on the biggest Asian martial arts promotion there is,” Dawson shared. “We have been watching ONE for a while now here in Australia and to finally have some Australian competitors there to compete, now that there’s Muay Thai and kickboxing, it’s just an incredible feeling for me.”
Dawson is just the latest in a long line of Aussie talent to display their skills one the ONE Championship stage, following in the footsteps of reigning ONE Featherweight and Lightweight World Champion Martin Nguyen, former ONE Bantamweight World Championship challenger Reece McLaren, lightweight contender Adrian Pang and fellow kickboxing star Elliot Compton, just to name a few.
“I’m just super excited and am in the best shape I’ve been in over a decade to get ready for this performance. That’s how seriously I’ve taken this fight, so I’m very excited, to be honest. I can’t wait to show the fans how hard I’ve been training,” he said.
While Dawson is a newcomer on the ONE Super Series stage, he is already one of the most experienced athletes on the roster.
The Australian will be bringing with him a professional boxing and kickboxing record that consists of 112 bouts with 93 wins and 57 of it coming by way of knockout.
Even with all that experience under his belt, Dawson stressed that he cannot wait to feed off the energy of the ONE Championship crowd.
“I’m really looking forward to be under the bright lights and on one of the biggest stages there is in martial arts. Of course, for me to be able to fight on a stage like this, I’m one of those fighters that the bigger the crowd, the bigger the energy, the more I love it, so I’m just really excited and super pumped to be on this trip, on this show,” he proclaimed.
Dawson’s arrival bolsters the already-stacked pool of talent that the ONE Super Series parades, headlined by the likes of Giorgio Petrosyan, Jo Nattawut and Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, among others.
A highly-decorated combat sports athlete, Dawson is the first man to hold world titles in boxing, kickboxing and Muay Thai and is being hailed as one the best martial artists to come from Down Under.
With a resume as thick as his determination, Dawson believes that he is right at home with the best of the best in ONE Championship.
“Yes, I’ve had a very storied career through Muay Thai, kickboxing and boxing, and I’m very excited to be fighting again. The competition is very high. ONE has contracted some of the best fighters in the world in MMA and in kickboxing.” he expressed.
“I do think I will stack up really well with the competition. I know I’m at that level, I know I’ve got a little bit more experience than some of the guys at that level, and now I’m in shape, just as good a shape as anyone in that competition, so I see myself having a chance to be the best there,” Dawson added.
Speaking of experience, Dawson is confident that this will be his main advantage over the playing field.
At 40 years of age, Dawson may not be the youngest, but he remains optimistic that he is still in perfect shape to hang with the stiff competition in ONE Super Series.
“Yes, I am 40 years old and not as young as some of the other competitors I’ll be facing. I see it as an advantage for myself right now. If I was not in the shape that I’m in, it would definitely be a disadvantage,” he stated.
“I’ve looked after my body my whole career, I have not been hurt much my whole career, I’ve been a very technical skill fighter and I believe that along with the great help they have with looking after my body, with recovery, with treatment over the years, I believe I’ve got an opportunity to be one of the best mature fighters in the world, and I’m looking forward to proving that there’s only one way to show it, and that’s prove it, so I’m looking forward to proving that on my ONE debut,” he further explained.
At this age and stage in his illustrious professional career, there really is not anything left for Dawson to prove.
A 26-year career with an impressive record and an even more impressive number of championships is already the end-goal for some.
But for Dawson, who bared that he is looking to keep competing for at least three or four more years, it is just part of the ongoing journey.
Keeping Dawson motivated and driven is none other than the people he holds dearest to his heart, his family, which he makes sure that they are given a good life and a better future.
“At this point in my career, I have thought about winning different world titles. It’s been a long career–26 years, so to speak–of actually fighting, at this point in my career, what gets me motivated in the gym, because it’s hard work, what gets me out of bed in the morning and gets me to the gym, it’s my family,” he revealed.
“I have a beautiful wife, two beautiful little girls, one’s two and a half years old and one’s five months old. Everyday I go, I work hard, I come back home and see their smiling faces and it just lights up my world. I do that to secure my legacy for myself, my family, the future for my family. They are my inspiration, they are why I’m going today and still working as hard as I can,“ Dawson continued.
At ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON on 8 September in Shanghai, China, a tough assignment awaits Dawson as he is booked to test his mettle against Haida, a veteran of 48 professional kickboxing contests in promotions such as Glory, SuperKombat, Kunlun Fight and Bellator Kickboxing.
“He’s a very good fighter, an ISKA World Champion. I think he will make a great fight for me, for my debut fight,” Dawson commented on his opponent.
As for what the ONE Championship fans should expect, Dawson suggested that they can expect a display of high-level skills from one of the world’s most celebrated martial artists.
“They can expect great excitement, great combinations, great skills, and great movement from a very inspired fighter, someone that’s fighting for a hell of a lot to gain and really has a lot to prove. I cannot wait to show the fans what I’ve got inside me,” he concluded.