With the hype surrounding the team following its formal launch over the weekend, senior members of the newly-formed Lions Nation MMA acknowledge that they have a lot of work ahead of them.
The La Trinidad, Benguet-based camp has a star-studded lineup composed of former ONE world champions such as Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Honorio Banario, and Joshua Pacio.
Moreover, the group welcomed two notable names into its pioneer core – Edward Kelly and Jeremy Pacatiw – apart from a roster of up-and-comers with Estrada Donga-as, Denver Songaben, Aaron Posawen, and Jahn Serbo in the fold.
Understanding that effective communication is the cornerstone for any successful stable in the sport, Folayang is keen on fostering an environment where each individual can be heard.
“Within a team, it’s really important that you listen to the people you’re with because they’re the ones spending most of their time with you. They can check your bad and good habits, stuff like that. It’s very important that you listen to your teammates as well as the coaches,” he told Tiebreaker Times.
According to the two-time ONE lightweight titleholder, this collaborative approach will help them dissect their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses, plot comprehensive training regimens, and devise winning strategies collectively.
“We also have to understand our own, and each other’s strengths and weaknesses. As they say, teamwork makes the dream work. I think that’s going to be the culture of Lions Nation MMA. It’s super important for all of us. That’s exactly what I saw before, which led us to become world champions,” Folayang stated.
Pacio echoed the same sentiments, ensuring that every person in their ranks has a voice in the decision-making process.
“Teamwork is all about listening to each other. There are skills being taught to us that might not work for this fighter but may be super effective against another. Athletes have different sets of strengths and weaknesses from one another. They also have different body types. Those are some things that we need to always remember,” Pacio explained.
“Listening to the coaches is crucial, but I feel that listening to the athletes is just as important.”
Meanwhile, Belingon and Kelly lauded Lions Nation MMA’s current setting, which promotes and respects different perspectives.
“We’re all open-minded here, so whatever one wants to share, we’re ready to listen and really think it through whether the idea is applicable or not, among other things. That’s one of the changes we implemented here with this group,” Belingon stated.
“Every single one of us respects the decision of one another and their suggestions as well. We’re all in open contact with each other, and we rely heavily on teamwork here,” Kelly added.
Pacio sees the ideals and culture that they have developed for Lions Nation MMA as guiding principles on their path to success.
“For us here at Lions Nation MMA, it’s important for us to stick to the vision and mission that this group has established, regardless of what happens and where we are in our careers,” Pacio concluded.