To earn a crack at a ONE World Title, fighters must pay their dues, and Jackie Buntan believes she has done that.
She feels that’s not the case, though, with her opponent, Smilla Sundell, who she’ll battle for the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight Muay Thai World Title on Friday, April 22.
Buntan takes on teenage sensation in the co-main event of ONE: Eersel vs Sadikovic at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, a clash between two athletes with contrasting resumes.
While the American has racked up three victories, her Swedish foe made her ONE Super Series debut only in February.
“I have definitely been asked [about whether Sundell deserves to fight for the World Title], and I thought about this myself. And yes, one fight in the division or in the promotion and getting a title shot, I think it is a bit premature,” Buntan told ONEFC.com.
“But at the same time, our division is so new and staggered in terms of when these girls have competed.”
The 24-year-old, who traces her roots to the Philippines, didn’t expect to face the 17-year-old for the belt, as she feels others are more deserving.
“There are definitely a couple of other girls that I would assume would be able to have the title [shot], given they were able to fight more for ONE Championship versus just having one single fight,” the Boxing Works representative said.
Buntan burst onto the scene in 2021, scoring victories over Nat “Wondergirl” Jaroonsak, Ekaterina Vandaryeva, and Daniela Lopez, which made her one of the most visible competitors on the ONE roster last year.
Having worked hard to get to this point in her career, she wants to make the most out of her moment on center stage.
“It was a flood of emotions [when I got the call about the World Title fight]. Not just the goal of actually being able to have the opportunity to compete for it. But it just puts everything in perspective,” she said.
“I was super active all of last year, and I was able to put things into realization, like, ‘Wow, within just one year, I was able to do it. I’m the one who made this opportunity for myself.’ So it just put a lot of things in perspective, and I had a lot of gratitude when I was offered that bout.”