Jackie Buntan may have been born and raised in the United States, but she is proud to represent her Filipino heritage on the global stage of combat sports.
The 25-year-old heroine from Redondo Beach, California will get another chance to do so on May 5th as part of the historic ONE Fight Night 10 card—ONE Championship’s maiden offering on American soil.
She is scheduled to take on Australia’s Diandra Martin in a three-round strawweight Muay Thai clash in a bout lineup consisting of 11 matches and featuring 22 individuals from 14 different countries.
Being the lone Filipina at the aforementioned live event gives Buntan some sense of pride and motivation to fly her motherland's flag proud and high to the best of her ability.
“I think it’s extremely important. Not just for me, or being in Muay Thai or being an athlete, that goes for whatever a Filipino-American is doing,” she stated.
“Whether you’re an athlete or a non-athlete, we all have it in our hearts that we’re all very passionate. Filipinos are very passionate. They show their hearts on their sleeves, they have heart and they have grit. When you mix the two with combat sport, that’s where you’ll find greatness,” Buntan continued.
“Like [Manny] Pacquiao, [he’s] the number one example, he has all of that, passion, grit, determination, resilience, I think it’s embedded in all of us.”
For Buntan, it is more than a fight as she desires to inspire with the providential platform she has right now.
“Any kind of job, the fact that you’re able to immigrate here, get accustomed to the new lifestyle, the American lifestyle, make it work for you and be successful at that, that’s such a tall order and I think it’s super important to have more role models showcasing that whether in sports, the medical field, the business field, wherever,” she said.
“The fact that we all have similarities and know that someone like us can do it inspires more people, more young people in the world to believe in themselves, challenge themselves and be able to go after things that are hard,” Buntan continued.
On May 5, it’s a must-win juncture for Buntan as a victory could move her an inch closer to a potential rematch with Smilla Sundell for the ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Championship.
With an opponent like Martin who’s known for her pressure offense, Buntan sees an opportunity to tighten her grip on the next shot at 26 pounds of gold.
“My fast hands will definitely be there, but I think they can just expect me to be an exciting fighter, I believe I am, so they can expect more excitement for this bout because I have new tools in my arsenal, a new style,” she shared.
“I expect you guys to see the same Jackie with a different mode of style in between.”
Filipino fight fans will get to enjoy the action from ONE Fight Night 10 on May 6 at 8:00 AM with its live broadcast at watch.onefc.com, as well as at One Sports and One Sports+ on Philippine television.