Yoshitaka Naito or Joshua Pacio? Rene Catalan weighs in

Rene Catalan

Rene Catalan

Since 2014, Catalan Fighting System Philippines founder Rene “The Challenger” Catalan, 39, has not tasted defeat in ONE Championship. His next opponent can be either his fellow Filipino mixed martial artist Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 22, or reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, 34, of Japan.

Catalan is on an impressive five-match winning streak and his last victory was a dominant unanimous decision win over Stefer “The Lion” Rahardian, 31, of Jakarta, Indonesia, which marked the Indonesian’s first loss in nine professional bouts.

Both Pacio and Catalan feel that they are ready for an opportunity to challenge for the ONE Strawweight World Championship. The former is from the famed Team Lakay of Baguio City while the latter is from Iloilo.

“Yes, I believe I’m ready,” Catalan said of his opportunity to challenge Naito. “I have won five straight contests, and the competition has only gotten better and better. If ONE Championship gives me the opportunity, anytime I’m ready.”

However, Catalan will be the first to admit that he still has a long way to go before becoming the top guy in the division, or at least being the next in line for a title shot. The Iloilo native explained, “I still have a lot of work to do because I know that there are a handful of names that are ahead of me, but I will do my best to get through whoever ONE Championship puts in between me and a chance at a title shot.”

The Team Lakay fighter sees a potential bout against Catalan as another opportunity. On the other hand, Catalan Fighting System Philippines founder is not as enthusiastic about facing a compatriot.

“I know Team Lakay’s level, and I’m not worried about facing any one of them,” Catalan shared. “But the thing is I’d rather not face a fellow Filipino. Since 2003, I’ve been representing for the Philippines, and until now, I try to avoid having to compete against one of my countrymen.”

“I’m not a businessman,” Catalan continued. “I am a martial artist and I have martial arts principles. I compete for the glory and honor of our country.”

Meanwhile, here is Catalan being honored at the 2018 URCC Hall of Fame Awards:

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