CJ “Golden Boy” de Tomas, 21, is one of the Filipino MMA fighters who are currently signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The Zamboanga native is the son of former Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC) bantamweight contender Charles de Tomas.
In an interview during a press conference at H.I.D. Burgers at City Gold Plaza in Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines, on Aug. 31, Thursday, CJ mentioned the famed Team Lakay, one of the top MMA teams in Asia.
I asked CJ what he thought was the common mistake committed by aspiring and new MMA fighters today. His immediate answer was arrogance as he noticed that he has yet to see someone who was cocky and eventually became successful.
A fighter is considered arrogant if he or she acts as if he is having a feud against everyone, CJ explained. The mentality of a fighter thinking that he or she is better than everyone else around is what he meant by arrogance, he further explained.
The lesson of humility is something CJ learned as a Christian, he said. One example he cited is a team of Igorot MMA fighters based in Baguio City and La Trinidad, Benguet.
Having trained with Team Lakay fighters for a long time, CJ did not hesitate to cite them as an epitome of humility among MMA fighters. He said he has known them since the days his father was still an active fighter.
As CJ pointed out, Team Lakay fighters manage to keep their cool even when their opponents show them arrogance. Led by head coach Mark “The Machine” Sangiao and ONE lightweight world champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, the top Team Lakay fighters of today are Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, Honorio “The Rock” Banario, Danny “The King” Kingad, Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly, Gina “Conviction” Iniong and April Osenio.
For CJ, the proper venue to show “arrogance” is the cage. He went on to say that some Filipino MMA fans tend to think that it is now easy to become a fighter signed with URCC, which is one of the top promotions in Southeast Asia.
The Filipino UFC fighter did not mention any names. However, he seemed to be referring to Billy Jack “The Rules” Sanchez who called out Kiko “Badass” Matos on social media and after some viral videos online, the two became opponents at “URCC: XXX” on Aug. 12 at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
On June 17, CJ made his UFC debut at “UFC Fight Night 111: Hold vs. Correia” in Singapore. He lost to his Japanese opponent Naoki Inoue via unanimous decision, which was his first loss as an MMA fighter.
On Nov. 25, CJ is set to redeem himself as he fights his second UFC bout in the inaugaural UFC Fight Night in Shanghai, China. His opponent is yet to be announced.
Before becoming a UFC fighter, CJ was an undefeated URCC fighter. Watch my interview with the young MMA fighter here: