Breaking Down Jonathan Haggerty’s Style Of Fighting

Breaking Down Jonathan Haggerty’s Style Of Fighting
Muay Thai Tuesday

Jonathan Haggerty entered the exclusive club of ONE Championship’s multi-sport World Champions when he defeated Fabricio Andrade to claim the ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Title in November last year. This was immediately following his first-round KO victory over dominant Muay Thai World Champion, Nong-O, ending the Thai’s 10-fight win streak on the promotion and winning the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai Title. These two fights alone have cemented “The General’s” place as one of the world’s most dominant strikers and ever since fans have been hungrily rewatching his fights, searching for the secrets to his success.

The style Haggerty used to crest the summit of ONE’s roster and become the premier Bantamweight striker on the planet is hard to define. In Muay Thai terms, he doesn’t conform to any of the sport’s definitive styles. He isn’t a Muay Mat, even though many of his knockout victories have come from the tremendous power of his right hand and he isn’t a Muay Tae, even though the majority of his remaining strikes come by way of his lightning-fast lead leg.

Haggerty’s style is unique, and it has been that way even before he claimed the Lightweight Muay Thai World Title from Sam-A back in 2019. In the next few paragraphs, we are going to list the key weapons that have guided him toward success. We’ll also show the slight revisions he has made in his style following his defeats at the hands of Rodtang in 2019 and 2020 because it is these adjustments that have really allowed him to become a multi-sport champion.


1) Right Hand

When he’s on the attack Haggerty assaults his foes with hands and elbows but his powerful right hand is by far his most fearsome weapon. He’s used it to consistently send his opponents crashing down to the canvas and it is responsible for his knockout victories over Nong-O, Fabricio Andrade, and Felipe Lobo.

It was also the deciding factor in his Lightweight World Title victory over Sam-A in 2019, making it one of the most fearsome punches in Muay Thai.


2) Left Switch Kick

When his opponent presses forward with punches, Haggerty’s lead leg takes center stage. He steps back from range and fires his lightning-fast left leg with precision and accuracy, usually targeting his opponent’s jaw if they let their guard slip as they press forward.


3) Left Teep

Haggerty mixes his lead leg teep with his switch kick to keep his movements from being predictable. He fires his teep when his weight is predominantly placed onto his rear leg, making it faster and more difficult for his opponents to see coming. He also throws it at many different levels, from his opponent’s thighs, waist, and chin, which makes it incredibly difficult for them to predict and defend.


A Changing Style

While the bones of Haggerty’s style have remained incredibly consistent over the years, his style has slightly been revised while he adapted to fighting in the ONE Championship ruleset. This change can be seen as a direct result of his back-to-back losses against rival, Rodtang in 2019-2020.

Before this, Haggerty was flat-footed and stood almost upright upon his rear leg in his fights and if he moved backward, it was in a straight line which allowed his opponents to gain momentum as they charged in and pushed him up against the ropes. This stance helped free up his left leg for his rapid strikes, but it also made him an easy target for any opponent that could get past his teeps and switch kicks.

These habits are most conspicuous in the above video of his 2018 bout against the current ONE Lightweight World Kickboxing Champion, Superlek Kiatmuu9 but remained up to his consecutive defeats against Rodtang.

Following these losses, Haggerty underwent a period of reconstruction. He moved up to Bantamweight, a division in which he has remained undefeated over 6 bouts. He also appears to have made some adjustments to his footwork, removing the errors that previous opponents capitalized upon. While you can see examples of him moving off and changing angles against Rodtang in 2019, it wasn’t until he changed divisions that his footwork became a key to his success.

In the above video of his title-winning performance against Nong-O, you can see Haggerty’s footwork at its very best. In this fight, Haggerty is rarely a stationary target, he hits and moves, changing angles so that Nong-O doesn’t have a chance to return fire. Haggerty is also lighter on his feet in this fight, and you can often see him bouncing from foot to foot rather than planting the majority of his weight on his right leg.

These constant adjustments to his position meant that Nong-O was constantly following Haggerty’s lead, unable to set the rhythm and pace of the fight while The General probed for openings.

Haggerty still moves back in straight lines on occasion, looking to fire off his trademark left leg but he mixes this by drop-stepping into a southpaw stance or changing the angle so that Nong-O couldn’t predict his movements. As a result, Haggerty was able to hit without being hit, remaining unpredictable up until he found the opening that he needed to lay the former champ out onto the canvas with his devastating right hand.



Haggerty has always had his unique style that made him a challenge for even the most experienced of opponents. The complementary nature of his heavy right hand and his incredibly fast left leg made him dangerous as both the aggressor and defensive fighter in his bouts. This stylistic anomaly earned him the Lightweight World Title against Sam-A, a former Lumpinee World Champion with over 10 times the Englishman’s experience in 2019.

Even with all of this success, Haggerty has continued to evolve as a fighter, closing down some of the holes in his game to ensure that he continues to stay at the pinnacle of the ONE Championship roster. Moving up a weight division and adding evasive footwork to his arsenal has helped him crest the summit of the ONE Bantamweight division in two sports, leading him to become one of the most famous and celebrated strikers that the world has ever seen.


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