Allycia Hellen Rodrigues has only been able to juggle parenthood and her job as a professional fighter in ONE Championship because her own mother made huge sacrifices to be there for her.
The reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight Muay Thai World Champion – who will move up to challenge Smilla Sundell for the ONE Women’s Strawweight Muay Thai World Title at ONE Fight Night 14 on Prime Video – thought her career might be over when she became pregnant in 2021.
However, her mom’s sacrifice allowed her to not just return – but to return better than ever. And Rodrigues did just that when she beat then-interim titleholder Janet Todd in a World Title unification bout at ONE Fight Night 8 this past March.
Knowing she has a strong support system in place, Rodrigues is now stepping forward to face another tough opponent in U.S. primetime on Friday, September 29.
The Brazilian explained:
“Being a mother is not easy at all. Honestly, it’s very difficult and challenging. I thought several times that I wouldn’t be able to fight again because of the intense training routine in Thailand. But my mother changed all that.”
Two years ago, Rodrigues was living full-time in Thailand and pursuing her dreams in Muay Thai, with the rest of her family still back in her homeland of Brazil.
However, with her first child on the way, the 25-year-old moved back to the place where she would have her loved ones nearby.
Rodrigues’ mother was thrilled, and after three years apart, the pair grew closer than ever as they joined forces to prepare for the new arrival.
The atomweight Muay Thai queen said:
“When I got pregnant, my mother and I got closer and closer. Today we are very much partners, and I can’t see myself without her by my side.
“I came back to Brazil so I could have my son and be close to my family. It was all very new to me, and I had no idea what to do. After my son was born, we started talking about returning to Thailand and the possibility of my mother coming with us, as I knew I wouldn’t be able to combine training and taking care of my son.
“She didn’t think twice. She gave up everything to be here in Thailand with me so I could keep fighting. Greater support than this I don’t know. I am very lucky to have my family with me, and I thank God every day for that.”
Rodrigues can now combine parenthood with life as a Muay Thai World Champion because of that selfless decision, but she’s also seen the difference in her mom now that she is around her grandson every day.
The family matriarch had struggled with her mental health at home in Brazil, and she has rejuvenated herself through family, martial arts, and exercise.
“My mother stays with my son so I can go train. She is also the one who takes care of my food. When I’m not at the fight camp, we take turns with my son Josué, and we manage to do everything we want.
“My mother also started to lead an active life here and today she trains Muay Thai and does bodybuilding.
“Honestly, I’ve never seen her as happy and well as I see her today. I knew she would adapt very well here, and that for me is priceless.”
How Allycia Hellen Rodrigues Overcame Difficulties To Return To Action
Although things have worked out well, it wasn’t an easy adjustment for any of the family when they moved from Brazil back to Thailand.
Allycia Hellen Rodrigues knew she had to commit herself to training if she wanted to keep her ONE Women’s Atomweight Muay Thai World Title, but that wasn’t easy under the circumstances.
She initially shared a one-room home with her mother, son, and partner, which made it hard to recover from her intense Muay Thai schedule – but with persistence and a desire to set a good example, things took a positive turn.
Now, Rodrigues knows she can overcome any obstacle and show her son what is possible with faith and hard work:
“We didn’t have a comfortable home. Our house had only one room for the four of us. We spent nine months like this here in Thailand. So, it was very difficult for me to rest when I was preparing for a fight because Josué always had problems sleeping at night.
“Honestly, I don’t know how I managed to get through this. There were two training camps sleeping like that, all together, but thank God the glory came. I won my fight and we moved on.
“Now I’m about to win another belt in my career. I want to be my son’s inspiration. I do everything for him.”