After years of ups and downs, Honorio “The Rock” Banario may be far from his previous status when he became the inaugural ONE Featherweight World Champion, but one thing remains — he wants to battle the best.
He will get exactly that when he takes on Japanese submission wizard Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki in Part II of ONE: Century on October 13 at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Japan.
“He is a legend,” Banario said. “He’s still on the top of his game and his skills never change.
“I’m a fan of how he was able to stay on top ever since he was younger.”
Six years ago, Banario was on top of the world after he defeated the first Filipino World Champion in The Home Of Martial Arts, Eric “The Natural” Kelly.
He had Aoki in his sights at that time, but that match never materialized as “The Rock” went downhill and “Tobikan Judan” remained at his best.
And so it surprised Banario that he got the match, especially since he is coming off consecutive losses. Still, he isn’t about to complain.
“At first I was shocked because my losses were piling up one after the other, yet they gave me Aoki — so I took it. This is an opportunity to bounce back and face a legend of this sport.” Banario said.
“If I win, maybe I’ll shoot back up the rankings. I’ll definitely prepare for this and test my skills with Aoki.”
Though many are convinced that Aoki will come in the favorite, Banario is unfazed. He knows he has to execute and trust the game plan that coach Mark Sangiao prepares for him.
“For me, it can really go either way,” Banario said.
“We all know the level that he’s on, but I believe that we can pull it off we execute our game plan. I see that he sometimes loses focus when he gets hit, so if we manage to execute our game plan, then we’ll have a chance.”
ONE: Century is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history. No organization has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events in one day.
The Home Of Martial Arts breaks new ground as 28 World Champions compete in four World Title bouts, three World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches at the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan on October 13 in Tokyo, Japan.
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