Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio Banario is originally from a small farming town in the mountainous Benguet region of the Philippines. Raised in impoverished circumstances, Banario grew up knowing the hardship of life, and had to work on farms ever since he was a young child. However, when he was 16, he picked up martial arts in order to protect himself from bullies, overcome his low self-esteem, and keep himself away from vice. It proved to be a decision that would change his life forever.
Banario earned a wushu scholarship to attend the Cordillera Career Development College in Baguio, and won several national tournaments. Although he spent most of his time competing against Team Lakay, he was intrigued by an invitation to train with them, decided to take it up. Under the guidance of head coach Mark Sangiao, he developed into one of the team’s top prospects, winning his first six bouts by stoppage, claiming a Filipino cage championship title in the process. He successfully defended the belt with another first-round submission, and was rewarded with a ONE Championship contract.
ONE Championship is where Banario scored the biggest win of his career, as he stopped the previously-undefeated Eric Kelly in the fourth round to become the inaugural ONE Featherweight World Champion. However, Banario lost his belt in a series of setbacks, but is currently blazing a comeback trail with impressive victories over several tough opponents in the lightweight division.