Interview with Janet Todd, ahead of ONE Fight Night 20: Todd vs. Phetjeeja

You were unsuccessful in unifying the ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Title in your last outing against Allycia Hellen Rodrigues. Talk us through that fight, and how you thought your performance went.

Obviously, it wasn’t the outcome I wanted. It’s painful when you lose, obviously, and it took me a couple weeks before I could even rewatch the fight. You know, once I got a little bit of time and perspective, and I was not feeling as hurt, I was able to rewatch it. I just wasn’t pleased with my performance. I know I could do better. It didn’t seem like I was confident with my strikes, and you can kind of see the hesitation. Well, at least I can. So yeah, it wasn’t my best, and I know that and part of me wants to do better.

You were in Denver last May for ONE Championship’s first U.S. event, ONE Fight Night 10. What was that experience like?

Oh man, that energy in there was crazy. It was so cool to have that same experience that we get to experience overseas back at home and have the fans love the athletes just as much as we do that are part of it.

So yeah, it’s just the start of it, right? 

We got a couple more U.S. shows this year, so it’s pretty exciting times for ONE Championship.

Switching gears to your next opponent, Phetjeeja, I’m sure you watched her fight against Anissa Meksen. Coming from the world of Muay Thai, making that transition against an elite opponent, how do you assess her performance?

Well, I knew Phetjeeja even before ONE Championship. I remember when she was just a little girl and her YouTube video went viral, her fighting little boys. She has a lot of experience. Even in her ONE Muay Thai bouts, she’s very heavy handed, very boxing-oriented. So, I’m not surprised how well she did in the fight with Anissa. I think she had a really good game plan against her, really stifled her distance, and didn’t really let Anissa be able to throw her hooks and crosses and be able to really land because she stifled that distance and moved her head. I thought she had a really good game plan.

At just 22 years old, she has over 200 professional wins. How important is that kind of experience to make her so comfortable when she is so young?

Ring experience is always valuable, wherever it comes from, and I wish we had more of that in the ‘States. I think we’re getting better with some of the tournaments that we have. We just don’t have the same opportunity. But I think that experience is valuable.

Do you think that the pacing gives you an edge over her?

“I mean, I’ve done at least three kickboxing fights and ONE Championship now. I’ve done a couple five round fights, even in four-ounce gloves for Muay Thai. So, I think having that fiveround experience more than a couple times gives me an advantage because now I know what to expect.”

What are you expecting the crowd to be like when you face her at Thailand’s Lumpinee Boxing Stadium? She’ll be the hometown girl …

Obviously, if I was a Thai citizen, I’m going to go for the Thai athlete. So, I know that the crowd is going to be for her and yelling for her, but I’ve been in situations like that even for IFMA Tournaments. I fought in the host country against the host athlete and been able to tune out the noise and be able to put out a good performance. I’m mentally prepared for it.

One of the cool things about this card is it’s going to be International Women’s Day. How do you feel about that?

I’m actually really stoked about it because I’ve always been a proponent of women in STEAM, right? Because I come from an engineering background too, and that used to be male dominated, it still is, I would say most of my meetings are mostly with males.But I feel like being at the forefront of helping women in those fields and finding their passion and getting the confidence to continue pursuing it is really important to me. For me, that’s what’s exciting – to be part of this card, an all-women’s card, and we can show other women to empower themselves, to go after what they love, and just be genuinely you and be awesome at it.

How do you think this fight plays out with her style? And how exciting it can be for the Fans?

She is aggressive and forward-moving, and I’ve dealt with fighters like that. It’s going to be –not to sound so cliche – but [it’s going to be] action-packed because of it. I think you’re going to see a lot of things: close-distance stuff, as well as trying to keep a little bit of distance as Well. But it’s going to be a good fight, and it’s not going to be an easy fight. Yeah, I want the knockout. Everybody wants the 50K bonus. But I’m not going to say I’m looking for the knockout because when you do, things go downhill. I’m ready for that forward-pressure, and I’ve been working different skills against it, and I’m ready to just see what comes out and have fun with it, with my hands raised at the end and the belt over my shoulder.

Lastly, this will mark your retirement fight. When did that first come into your mind, and what played into that decision?

I’ve thought about it for a while. The other aspect of what I want in my life is to start a family, and I’m getting older. Women aren’t fortunate enough to have kids in their 40s. Maybe some are, but I want that part of my life as well. And I felt like ONE Championship has given me such a great opportunity to achieve something that I never thought I could achieve before, and I’ve got to do so many things in such a short period of time and experience so much and meet so many lifelong friends. But I think I’m ready to move on to the next chapter after this fight.

What does it mean to you to win this final match as the champion and end your career on Top?

I mean, that’s what I want. I want to end my career at the top, be the first woman in our atomweight division to defend the title successfully and to show age is nothing but a number. Everybody always comments on my age. When you train smart and deliberate, it doesn’t matter what age you are. I feel like you can accomplish things, and I want to be able to show people that too.

The Essentials
Name: Janet Todd Born: California, USA
Nickname: “JT’ Gym: Boxing Works
Age: 38 Nationality: American
Birthdate: December 12, 1985 Language: English, Japanese
Height: 5’3”

Career Record: 39-12
Weight Class: Atomweight

Janet Todd never stopped in her pursuit of greatness, and her hard work and determination
have led her to great success.

Todd was raised in a strict household in Southern California, where her Japanese mother
enrolled her in a variety of classes to constantly challenge her both physically and mentally. The
foundations of her athletic career were laid through gymnastics, and “JT” eventually found her
way to a Muay Thai gym while searching for a way to have fun and stay active.

She would fall in love with Muay Thai immediately, and she has since ventured as far as the
striking art’s birthplace of Thailand to sharpen her skills.

The American previously trained under the legendary Sangtiennoi Sor Rungroj, where she was
amazed and inspired by the power and ferocity of his other students. This lit a fire in her that
burns to this day, and she soon became a two-time Pan-American Muay Thai Champion.
In February 2019, Todd’s passion led her to the global stage of ONE Championship. Although
she lost to Stamp Fairtex in her debut, she immediately went on a seven-bout winning streak,
which saw her claim the ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Title from Stamp Fairtex in a
rematch and the ONE Interim Atomweight Muay Thai World Title in a tilt with Lara Fernandez.
Todd would lose a Muay Thai World Title unification bout to Allycia Hellen Rodrigues in March
2023, but now, a year later, she is ready to have the last match of her professional career and
defend her kickboxing gold at ONE Fight Night 20.

5 Interesting Facts

  • Todd’s first language was Japanese
  • Before pursuing martial arts, Todd was a gymnast and a cheerleader until her teenage years
  • Todd’s martial arts journey started with cardio kickboxing, and she initially pursued it as a way
    to stay fit while attending college
  • Todd is a qualified aerospace engineer, having graduated from California Polytechnic State
    University in San Luis Obispo, California
  • Todd loves to cruise around on her longboard

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