Rene “The Challenger” Catalan put everyone in the ONE Championship strawweight division on notice as he hopes to take another crack at the ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio.
While he has made it clear that he does not want to face another Filipino on his road back to contention, the 41-year-old is willing to take on all comers — and even a few old faces — to get there.
“I may be a bit older now, but make no mistake about it, I am still gunning for my dreams of one day winning a World Title,” Catalan said.
“I am willing to face anyone in order to get there, though I hope to avoid my fellow Filipinos.”
That said, the fifth-ranked Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang is off of Catalan’s hitlist, but he has three other studs to choose from if he truly wants to prove himself.
The top-ranked Yosuke “The Ninja” Saruta interests him, and he has some very good words for the Japanese.
“Saruta is a very good athlete, he’s really strong,” he said.
“I believe that if he did not make a mistake against Joshua Pacio, he would have won in that match again.”
He is also not discounting a rematch against either Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, whom he beat last year, and Alex “Little Rock” Silva, the man who dealt him his first loss in The Home Of Martial Arts.
Catalan promises to be ready against either of the two.
“If I face Silva again, I have to really focus on ground defense. It’s all about good preparation when facing someone as dangerous as Silva,” Catalan said. “[Naito] will definitely work double-time against me. He can certainly adjust like what he did against Alex Silva.
“I also expect him to polish his striking, and maybe play with me a bit on the feet before trying to impose his will on the ground.”
When it comes down to it, Catalan is expecting a rematch with the second-ranked Naito in hopes of further bolstering his stock in the weight class.
“I need to beat the number two guy first, so I have a chance to vie for number one,” Catalan said.
“Saruta is currently the number one contender. I wouldn’t be surprised if he faces Pacio again, so it’s very possible for me to get a rematch with Naito.”
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