10 Greatest Muay Thai Legends: Their Real Names, Meanings, & Backgrounds

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10 Greatest Muay Thai Legends: Their Real Names, Meanings, & Backgrounds

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In the world of Muay Thai, certain fighters have risen to legendary status, carving their names into the records of Muay Thai history. But have you ever considered how these famous Muay Thai legends got their fight names and what's the meaning behind them? In this article, we discover their real identities, the significance behind their names, and the diverse backgrounds that shaped these iconic fighters.


  1. Buakaw Banchamek

  • Buakaw Banchamek, formerly known as “Sombat Banchamek,” is one of the most famous figures in the history of Muay Thai. Born in Surin, Thailand, Buakaw made his professional Muay Thai debut in 1999. Through his aggressive fighting style and powerful kicks, he gained widespread recognition in international tournaments and competitions, including the K-1 World MAX series, where he became a two-time champion in 2004 and 2006.
  • Buakaw's name, meaning "White lotus," symbolizes purity and resilience, reflecting his journey from humble beginnings to global success. Throughout his career, he embodied the spirit of the white lotus, overcoming challenges with determination. His legacy inspires others to persevere in the face of difficulty and challenges, similar to how a lotus grows among murky waters.
  • As of writing, Buakaw has a Muay Thai record of 243-24-1.


  1. Saenchai PKSaenchaimuaythaigym

  • Saenchai PKSaenchaimuaythaigym is a highly respected Nak Muay. Originally named “Suphachai Saenpong,” he comes from Buriram, Thailand, and started learning Muay Thai when he was young, following in the footsteps of his older brother, who was also a Muay Thai fighter. He showed natural talent and quickly became known for his skills in local competitions. Saenchai went on to have a remarkable career, winning many championships and dominating the sport.
  • His name, Saenchai, means "A hundred thousand victories," reflecting his constant pursuit of success. He's admired not just for his fighting abilities but also for his determination and spirit. His creative techniques, lightning-fast reflexes, and ability to read his opponents have earned him a reputation as one of the greatest Muay Thai fighters of all time. Despite being in his 40s, Saenchai continues to compete at a high level up until today (30/03/24).
  • As of writing, Saenchai has a Muay Thai record of 327-49-2.


  1. Samart Payakaroon

  • Samart Payakaroon is a highly respected figure in both Muay Thai and boxing. Originally named “Samart Tiptarmai,” he grew up in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Samart made his professional debut as a Muay Thai fighter at the age of 15, rapidly rising through the ranks. Throughout the 1980s, Samart dominated the Muay Thai scene. He fought and defeated many of the top fighters of his era.
  • His name, Samart, translates to "Capable" in Thai, and "Payak" translates to "Tiger." This, in addition with his handsome appearance earned him the nickname "Jade-faced Tiger." He wasn't just skilled in Muay Thai but also excelled in Western boxing. Samart retired from professional fighting in the late 1980s and became a mentor to younger fighters, passing on his knowledge and experience to the next generation.
  • Samart has a Muay Thai record of 130-18-2, and a boxing record of 21-2-0.


  1. Yodsanklai Fairtex

  • Yodsanklai Fairtex, formerly known as “Yodthanong Photirat,” grew up in Nong Bua Lamphu Province, Thailand. Throughout his professional career, he held multiple championship titles, including Lumpinee Stadium titles and Rajadamnern Stadium titles, which are among the most prestigious accolades in Muay Thai. He also transitioned to kickboxing competitions and continued to dominate, winning titles in organizations such as K-1 MAX and GLORY Kickboxing.
  • His name, Yodsanklai, reflects the artistry and integrity of Muay Thai. "Yod" translates to "Elite," while "Sanklai" translates to "Far away." Yodsanklai is often referred to as "The Boxing Computer" for his precision, technical mastery, and ability to calculate opponents' moves with remarkable accuracy. His influence extends beyond the ring as he travels worldwide, promoting Muay Thai and sharing his expertise.
  • Yodsanklai has a Muay Thai record of 202-74-4.


  1. Nong-O Gaiyanghadao

  • Nong-O Gaiyanghadao is a highly respected Muay Thai fighter from the rural province of Sakon Nakhon, Thailand. Born “Apichet Khotanan,” he grew up in a family deeply involved in Muay Thai. Nong-O rose to fame in the early 2000s, competing in Lumpinee Stadium and Rajadamnern Stadium. He has also competed in Japan and China, facing top-level opponents and further solidified his reputation as a Muay Thai legend.
  • His fight name, Nong-O, is simply his nickname and doesn't have a meaning. "Gaiyanghadao," however, translates to “Five star grilled chicken.” It represents a sponsorship agreement with a well-known grilled chicken shop in Thailand rather than directly reflecting Nong-O's identity or attributes. Aside from his success in fighting, Nong-O also mentors and coaches young fighters. He still remains an active Muay Thai fighter to this day (30/03/24).
  • As of writing, Nong-O has a Muay Thai record of 265-56-10.


  1. Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn

  • Born “Charin Sorndee” in the rural province of Phang Nga, Dieselnoi was inspired by the stories of great fighters before him and began training Muay Thai. One of his most remarkable achievements was his reign as the Lumpinee Stadium champion in the 135 lb (61 kg) weight class. He held this title for four years, from 1981 to 1985, during which time he remained undefeated.
  • Dieselnoi, means "Little Diesel" in Thai, representing his relentless energy and resilience, just like a Diesel engine. Standing over six feet tall, his imposing stature and powerful knee strikes made him a feared opponent. His dominance in the ring eventually led to a shortage of opponents willing to face him. Many fighters avoided challenging him due to his fearsome reputation.
  • Dieselnoi has a Muay Thai record of 110-5-4.


  1. Somrak Khamsing

  • Somrak Khamsing (or Somluck Kamsing) was born in 1973, in Khon Kaen, Thailand. Somrak rose to fame in the 1990s, when he won the gold medal in the featherweight division at the Atlanta Olympic Games. This victory made him the first Thai athlete to win a gold medal in Olympic boxing, making him a national hero in Thailand. After his Olympic success, Somrak continued to compete in Muay Thai, facing off against some of the toughest opponents in the sport.
  • His name, Somrak, is a combination of two words: “Som” which translates to worthy, and “-rak” which means love. In addition to his achievements in Muay Thai, Somrak has also pursued a career in acting and entertainment. He has appeared in several Thai films and television shows, further solidifying his status as a cultural icon in Thailand.
  • Somrak has a Muay Thai record of 289-10-1, and a boxing record of 150-50-0.


  1. Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn

  • Namsaknoi was born “Muhammud Chaiyamart” in a small fishing village in the province of Surat Thani. Namsaknoi's career spanned from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s, during which he fought in both Thailand and internationally. For his long reign as the champion, the Thai media gave him the nickname of “The Emperor.”
  • His name, Namsaknoi, “ Namsak” means “The mighty, powerful one”, and “-noi” means junior. He was the first fighter to ever receive the Best Fighter trophy from the Thai King. Throughout his career, Namsaknoi faced tough opponents and earned a reputation as a master of Muay Thai, known for his precise techniques and deep understanding of the sport.
  • Namsaknoi has a Muay Thai record of 280-15-5.


  1. Petchboonchu F.A.Group

  • Originally named “Yutthapong Sitthichot,” Petchboonchu was born on May 25, 1985, in the province of Buriram, Thailand. One of his most notable achievements came when he won the prestigious Lumpinee Stadium championship title in multiple weight divisions, solidifying his status as one of the top Muay Thai fighters of his era.
  • His name, Petchboonchu, means "diamond fist," representing his strength and resilience in the ring. It is a name that embodies Petchboonchu's ability to deliver devastating strikes with precision and power. After retiring, he established the Petchboonchu F.A.Group gym, where he shares his knowledge and expertise with aspiring fighters.
  • Petchboonchu has a Muay Thai record of 204-134-1.


  1. Sagat Petchyindee

  • Sagat Petchyindee, or “Wirun Phonphimai,” is a highly respected Nak Muay from the Buriram province in Thailand. He was introduced to the sport at a young age by his father, who was also a fighter. Sagat fought primarily out of the famed Petchyindee Gym in Bangkok, which has produced numerous champions in the sport.
  • His name, Sagat, translates to "block" or “tackle” in Thai. He was known for his powerful kicks and relentless forward pressure in the ring, earning him the nickname "Sagat," a reference to a character from the popular Street Fighter video game series known for his fighting skills. As of today, Sagat is still active in the Muay Thai community as a coach.
  • Sagat has a Muay Thai record of 266-40-11, and a boxing record of 12-2-0.
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