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Saiful “The Vampire” Merican has one dream he wants to accomplish in 2019 — to return to action in the world’s largest martial arts organization, ONE Championship.

The Terengganu-born athlete has not appeared in the promotion since August 2017, and he is desperate to get back into the cage in the first quarter of the new year.

“I want to represent Malaysia once again in February or March next year. It’s been too long, and I’m hungry for some game time,” the 30-year-old said.

“I’ve made a promise to my family, fans, and students that I will make a return. Watch me do it.”

While most ONE fans are familiar with seeing Merican compete in mixed martial arts, he has his eyes firmly set on a different kind of competition — more specifically, a ONE Super Series Muay Thai bout.

“My hands cannot take the impact of mixed martial arts yet, so I want to get in the ring but for a Muay Thai match,” he confessed.

“I miss the stage and that [ONE Championship cage] is where I belong. I’m so thankful that Chatri Sityodtong has introduced the ONE Super Series as Muay Thai has always needed a bigger organization to promote the sport.”

The last time “The Vampire” dueled in the cage was against China’s “Rock Man” Chen Lei at ONE: KINGS AND CONQUERORS in Macau on August 2017.

Following the armbar submission defeat, the Malaysian suffered a serious injury, which sidelined him for the rest of the year and an action-packed 2018.

“I broke both my hands in Macau,” Merican said.

“I [got] surgery as soon as I landed back in Malaysia, and I couldn’t even drive or do anything much. I was down. At times, [I was] just staring at the ceiling of my gym hoping for better luck.

“My wife would send me to the gym so I could watch people train. It was very frustrating.”

In December 2017, he started training again.

However, he quickly realized he had difficulties with his left hand.

“I had a metal plate inserted inside of my left hand, and it was not fully healed. But sometimes, it’s really mind over matter. Even then, it was too painful to train,” he explained.

Today, Merican is ready and raring to go after spending the past 12 months recovering and getting back into shape.

Although he has not competed for nearly a year and a half, he is excited to resume his career in 2019.

“I’ve been training hard to maintain my weight. It’s not easy as I must take care of my business and family, too,” he said.

“I’ve been watching the ONE Championship events this year with a frown because I’ve always wanted to fight, as an athlete being in the cage is something significant for us.”

“The Vampire’s” days of frowning are finally coming to an end.