Her name is Loma.
23-year-old Loma Lookboonmee's UFC debut was not only the first time a Thai fighter stepped into the octagon, it was also the first win for Thailand in the sport's premier promotion.
The Buriram native, who has well over 200 professional Muay Thai fights, impressed in her women's strawweight bout against Russia's Aleksandra “Stitch” Albu in Singapore last Saturday (Oct 26). Using clinical Muay Thai skills, peppered with tactical grappling and defense, Loma was able to snatch away a split decision win at UFC Fight Night 162.
“This is more than I could ever have expected,” Loma said in a post-fight interview. “To actually get here and to actually win is beyond everything. I've never had a drink before and my coach [George Hickman] told me if I win I have to have a beer. So that’s what I’m going to do.”
A longtime Muay Thai standout, Loma sharpened her MMA skills at Phuket's famed Tiger Muay Thai & MMA Training Camp in Chalong, where her coach, George Hickman, alongside a stable of high-class training partners and coaches, prepared her for the equally-grueling world of cage fighting.
“If it wasn’t for the team at Tiger Muay Thai and my family I wouldn’t have the win I had today. I owe it all to my team,” said Loma.
Loma's journey from the boxing rings of Thailand to the bright lights of the UFC octagon has seen her turn heads all over the world. Her record of 4 wins and 1 loss tells the story of someone who's been able to learn from every setback and move forward with the confidence of an experience veteran.
Last Saturday's debut saw Loma lean on her Muay Thai skills – clinching her opponent and tripping her seemingly at-will while throwing in strong knee and elbows strikes.
“I knew s[Albu] had trained very hard and had come out there to win so I was surprised about how aggressive she was. I was happy with my elbows. I had trained hard with them, I threw a lot, and I liked them,” Loma said.
In the win, Loma showcased a level of Muay Thai rarely seen in the UFC cage, made even more impressive in that she had to move up a weight class (from 48kg).
“I came here to fight my own style and to fight the way I train and that’s what I did,” she said.