MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino-American striker Jackie Buntan is all set for her highly-anticipated debut in ONE Championship.
The 23-year-old Buntan will face the highly regarded Wondergirl Fairtex of Thailand at ONE: Fists of Fury, which takes place on February 26 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Buntan is determined to follow in the footsteps of her stablemate, ONE atomweight kickboxing world champion Janet Todd.
"Ever since my training partner, Janet Todd, joined ONE Championship, it was pretty much on my radar," said Buntan. "The end goal is, of course, to get that belt. Muay Thai is where my heart is at, but I did sign up for both Muay Thai and kickboxing. That Muay Thai belt is on my radar."
Todd is Buntan's chief sparring partner at Boxing Works in Los Angeles, California, where they both hone their skills under renowned coach Bryan Popejoy.
The American Todd joined the ONE Super Series in 2019 and captured the ONE atomweight kickboxing world title just a year into her career in the promotion.
Seeing Todd with the ONE Championship belt was a huge inspiration for Buntan.
"It lit a huge fire in me," she admitted.
"When she won that belt, it was right before the lockdown, and at the time, I was supposed to make my debut," Buntan explained. "That just got me so pumped to make my debut and represent myself, my gym, my coaches, so that really lit a fire in me."
"Just seeing my friend, someone I’ve known for so long, who was able to achieve this, made me believe that I can achieve this as well."
Even as she looks to duplicate Todd's success in ONE Championship, the Fil-Am fighter has also sought advice from her stablemate as she gears up for her debut.
"She's taught me to really just trust your training, your coaches, and yourself, that we're ready for anything and that we've seen it all in training. We just have to have confidence to do what we do," said Buntan.
ONE: Fists of Fury is headlined by the ONE flyweight kickboxing world championship showdown between reigning title holder Ilias Ennahachi and No. 2-ranked contender "The Kicking Machine" Superlek Kiatmoo9.
Also on the card is kickboxing legend Giorgio Petrosyan, ONE flyweight Muay Thai world champion Rodtang "The Iron Man" Jitmuangnon, and the debut of rising teenage star Victoria "The Prodigy" Lee.