As Rene Catalan (1-2, 1NC) crosses paths with a highly-touted prospect like Adrian Matheis (2-0), the Filipino fighter sees a big reward waiting if he will play his cards right.
The 38-year-old Iloilo Cit-native is set to square off with Matheis on the undercard of ONE Championship: Quest for Power, which takes place at the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia on 14 January.
Catalan hopes that if he secures a decisive win over Matheis, it will grant him a date with Yoshitaka Naito for the ONE Strawweight World Championship belt later this year.
“Every fighter dreams to become a world champion. I really hope that ONE Championship will give me an opportunity to fight for the title in the future.
“This fight might be the door to a world title fight. Let us all hope for the best,” he said.
Matheis is one of the possible options to lock horns with Naito after winning the ONE Championship: Titles & Titans Strawweight Tournament this past August.
The 23-year-old Indonesian standout defeated compatriots Rustam Hutajulu and Roso Nugroho via scintillating knockouts to bring home the tourney trophy.
A victory over Catalan will only strengthen Matheis’ campaign to secure a date with the reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion in 2017.
However, Catalan plans to derail his Indonesian opponent’s championship aspirations and cement his position as the rightful contender for Naito’s gold-plated strap.
“I want that opportunity to fight for the title. If he wins, he might get the title shot that I seek. You will never know if your next fight will be a title fight. That’s why you have to give your best in every fight,” he stated.
The Wushu practitioner is confident that he will have his hand raised against Matheis, lauding his intense preparation for his first fight in 2017.
With the aim to be a more versatile fighter than his cage counterpart, Catalan revealed that he worked extensively on his ground game in training camp.
“For this fight, I added more emphasis to my ground game. Even though I am coming off a win, I shouldn’t be complacent.
“I trained with the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the country to hone my grappling skills,” he bared.
Although both men possess superb striking pedigrees, Catalan believes that he still has the upper hand in the stand-up department.
“I still believe that my striking is better than his stand-up game. I am very comfortable in that aspect. If he wants to strike with me, it will be my pleasure,” he pointed out.
Catalan, who is coming off a lopsided decision win over China’s Zhang You Liang last September, looks to take ONE Championship’s growing strawweight division by storm.
“My win in September is the first step. There’s more to come,” he vows.
“I will not stop winning until I get the ONE World Strawweight Championship belt.”