ONE Interim Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio is ready to reign as the one true king.
The Filipino will get that opportunity on Saturday, 23 June, when he rematches ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes (17-2) in the main event of ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER. In doing so, he challenges for the right to become the undisputed best flyweight in the world.
Before he steps into the Studio City Event Center for this thrilling World Champion versus World Champion battle, the 29-year-old Baguio City, Philippines resident talks about how has life changed since his World Title-winning effort, what motivates him now, and much more.
ONE Championship: How do you feel about being the only member of Team Lakay to hold a World Title right now?
Geje Eustaquio: I do not view myself as the only World Champion in Team Lakay. My accomplishments are not individual. They belong to the team. This belt is not my belt – it is ours.
My teammates and I are working very hard to improve our skills, and I have no doubt that my brothers will get their due shots. We all share our successes, no matter how big or small. We win as a team, and we lose as a team.
Team Lakay is more than just a team to me – it is my family.
ONE: Which Team Lakay member do you feel is in a good position to win a ONE World Title next?
GE: Almost everybody is capable and in line for a World Title shot. Team Lakay has come so far over the last few years, and it is all because of our hard work.
Take a look at the team, and you can see the veterans are still in the running – Eduard Folayang, Honorio Banario, and Edward Kelly. I will not be surprised if any of these guys get a World Title shot soon.
ONE: How has your life changed since becoming the ONE Interim Flyweight World Champion?
GE: Recognition is one of the benefits of victory, and while I am proud to be recognized as the best [flyweight] in the world of martial arts, I always embrace the value of humility, so I try to keep a low profile.
But do not get me wrong – being a World Champion is fun. Strangers know who you are, and are always congratulating you. Everyone wants a picture.
Sometimes, I also get easier access to certain things, like maybe get my passport processed faster and stuff like that. To me, I consider it a privilege, and I am not taking it for granted.
ONE: Do you wear your belt outside a lot?
GE: I do not always wear it, of course. That thing is very heavy, and very hard to bring around on a regular basis, but when it is not sitting at home, it is definitely over my shoulder.
ONE: What does the World Title represent to you?
GE: The belt is symbolic of all the hard work, all the sleepless nights, and all the sweat I have poured into training at the gym. What it represents means so much to me. It is the result of all the dedication I have put into my seven-year career so far.
The belt is valuable intrinsically. I think more than anything else, it represents hope, and I am happy to be in the position to inspire my fans, and all the people who love martial arts.
ONE: What do you think will go differently in this rematch with Adriano Moraes?
GE: My coach (Mark Sangiao) and I are coming up with a great game plan for this rematch. I know it is going to be a tough bout, and I can still remember the last time we fought.
It is crazy to think that was years ago, but I know right now we are two completely different fighters. Our skills have improved immensely.
It is hard to admit, but the first time we met, I was totally green. I just was not ready. Now my confidence is super high. I believe I can stand and trade with him, and going down to the ground with him is a dream.
I have so much respect for Adriano, as a martial artist and as a competitor, but it is my time now. I will leave the stadium the undisputed World Champion.
ONE: Reece McLaren is waiting to challenge for the World Title, and could be next in line for the winner. What are your thoughts on Reece?
GE: Reece is a cool guy, I respect him a lot too. He is a Filipino-Australian, and of course, the Filipino blood is inside of him. Filipinos are hard workers. It would be a tough match-up. Reece is a great warrior and he will definitely have his time.
Right now, I am focused on Adriano. I cannot look past the other World Champion, I cannot underestimate him. I will do everything in my power to claim victory on 23 June. It is going to be another classic.
As for Reece, in God’s time, it will be an honor to dance with him.
ONE: At this stage of your career, who and what are you competing for?
GE: I fight for three things: my family, my country, and the glory of God Almighty. Everything else – the money, the fame, the personal glory – it is a bonus.
I am working very hard to give my family a good life to make sure we are set for the future. Right now, I have the power to set the path for our future, and I will do everything I can to be successful.
It is tough now – the sacrifices I have to make as an athlete. I have to spend a lot of time away from my family to train, to fight overseas, and to handle many different obligations. But it is better that I work hard now, and then enjoy the fruits of my labor later.
That is why I am working so hard – for the people that I love.
Macau | 23 June | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast