Ahead of fight against Indonesian opponent, Catalan sets sights on One strawweight belt

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--After struggling in form in his first two fights, veteran wushu standout Rene Catalan finally got an MMA win at One: Unbreakable Warriors in Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 2.

However, he seems to have set a mission for 2017: take the One strawweight title away from current champion Yoshitaka Naito.

“Every fighter dreams to become a world champion. I really hope that One Championship will give me an opportunity to fight for the title in the future,” the 38-year-old Catalan said.

And he believes that a win against Indonesian foe Adrian Matheis is the prerequisite to make the promotion consider him as Naito's challenger.

“This fight might be the door to a world title fight. Let us all hope for the best,” Catalan continued.

Catalan and Matheis lock horns at One: Quest for Power on Jan. 14 at the Jakarta Convention Center, and with both fighters known for their strikes, Catalan worked on another aspect of the game that could give him an edge over the home country hero.

“For this fight, I added more emphasis to my ground game. Even though I am coming off a win, I shouldn’t be complacent. I trained with the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the country to hone my grappling skills,” he revealed.

In spite of focusing his training on grappling, Catalan insisted, “I still believe that my striking is better than his stand-up game.”

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