Rene “The Challenger” Catalan’s hard work and sacrifices over his long and illustrious martial arts career reaches its pinnacle when ONE Championship returns to the Philippines for the last time this year.
Catalan will battle Joshua “The Passion” Pacio for the ONE Strawweight World Title in the main event of ONE: Masters of Fate on November 8 at the Mall Of Asia Arena.
From going winless in his first three matches to competing in curtain raisers, Catalan has certainly come a long way.
“When I lost three straight, I accepted it. I was a newbie in MMA. But every time I compete in a sport, my goal was to become a World Champion. I felt like losing early was normal because I was just starting,” Catalan said.
“On fight cards, it was totally normal to open in the prelims because I was just starting. But I told myself that eventually, I will be in the main event.”
For “The Challenger,” being in this position is by no means a coincidence.
The 40-year-old went on an amazing six-match winning streak, capped off with a masterful performance over former ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito at ONE: Reign of Valor.
His run only goes to show that with the right mindset and determination, nothing is impossible.
“I was just dreaming of it. Now I found a way to train properly. Back then, I didn’t have a proper training camp, and I was also coaching in other countries. That’s why it didn’t end up well,” Catalan said.
“I doubled on training and I worked on my wrestling and strikers. I just worked hard. God always provides for our daily needs during training,” he continued.
“It’s just a matter of discipline, determination, and dedication, alongside our passion with what we do.”
Having won multiple crowns in different sports, it is only fitting that Catalan’s possible coronation in mixed martial arts takes place in the country that he has represented for the longest time.
“I declined at first, but I know how big of an opportunity this is — I’ve worked hard for this,” Catalan said.
“I won’t waste this opportunity because I know things like this don’t come often.”
ONE Championship returns to Manila for one last time this year with ONE: Masters of Fate on November 8 at the Mall Of Asia Arena.
Get your tickets here and use the code “onewarrior” for a 20-percent discount.
Or catch all the action by downloading the ONE Super App.
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