Loma Lookboonme, 24, will fight in Abu Dhabi for the UFC Fight Night event on 3 October 2020. It will be her third fight with the promotion, and she’s the only Thai national in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), the world’s largest MMA (mixed martial art) promotion.
Like most Thais competing in MMA, Loma is a Muay Thai fighter who has adapted MMA skills to compete in the more financially lucrative combat sport. She currently trains at Tiger Muay Thai gym in Phuket, one of Thailand’s premier MMA training centers.
Loma hailed from Buriram. Her father is a former Muay Thai fighter, as is her mother. She has two sisters, both of whom compete in Muay Thai.
Like most Muay Thai fighters, her training started young. At eight years old, she first put on the gloves at her father’s gym, Lookboonme Gym. Her father is her hero. She said her father was “very cool” in the ring, and watching him fight when she was young has inspired her.
At the age of 19, she qualified for the national team and has fought in over 12 countries around the world. Like most Thais in combat sports, fighting is a way to get out of poverty. Loma’s first fight weight was 18 kilograms. In the UFC, she will be competing at 52kg, where China’s Zhang Weili reigns as the undisputed champion.
Currently, she’s training six days a week, with Sundays off. The day starts at 6:30am with a three-kilometer run. At 8:30am, pads work. At 9:30am, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). At 3pm, sparrings. Tuesdays are for conditioning and wrestling training.
Her record MMA record is four wins and two losses.
As the only Thai in the UFC, do you get support from sponsorships?
Apart from Tiger Muay Thai gym, I don’t have any other Thai sponsors. I only get support from foreign brands. We have been trying to get some Thai sponsors. I guess I would probably have to win in the UFC first, then Thai brands might notice me.
Who will be your opponent, and how do you plan to beat her?
Jinh Yu Frey [9 wins, 5 losses]. She was also a champion from Invicta Fighting Championships. I feel like I’ve got nothing to lose. I lost my previous fight and learned from that experience, so I will try my best with this UFC fight.
What was your toughest MMA fight so far and why?
Probably my latest fight that I lost. They switched my opponent just two weeks before the fight because the original opponent got injured during her training. The replacement was Angela Hill [12 wins, 8 losses, currently ranked number 13 in the UFC].
She’s really good and was Invicta Fighting Championships’ champ. I’ve heard of her name for a while and knew that she was good, and I was somewhat afraid of her reputation. However, I feel very, very lucky to be fighting against such incredible fighters.
How many years will it take for you to become a UFC champ?
Right now, I am not even thinking about that. My goal is to be in the Top 10. I don’t know when that would happen, but that’s my goal right now.
As a Muay Thai-based fighter, how do you deal with the ground game, BJJ and wrestling?
Switching from Muay Thai to MMA, there were so many things to learn. I’ve had to train BJJ, wrestling, boxing, and weight training. It’s quite a lot to take in, but it has also been super fun that I get to learn all these new skills.
What are your strong and weak points?
I prefer to strike. Kicks, punches, and push kicks. My weakness is when I’m not on my feet. I’m not used to the technique yet, but I’m trying to improve on it with BJJ.
Who in the UFC do you want to fight the most?
I’m good with any fighters, really. Everyone is so good, but it would be great to fight with someone in the Top 10.
Do you have time to do anything else?
When I’m not training, I love to read. I’ve been reading the Harry Potter books recently and many psychology books. I love psychology. I am very obsessed with reading.