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Honorio Banario: 'A Champion Is Nothing Without Honor'

Jan 22, 2019

As Honorio “The Rock” Banario explains – you need more than a belt to be a true World Champion.

The former ONE Featherweight World Champion believes an athlete has a responsibility to carry themselves with dignity and embody the values of martial arts. Only then can they be respected as being the best in their field.

If anyone should know that, it is “The Rock” because ‘honor’ is part of his name.

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“The belt doesn’t mean anything if you don’t conduct yourself with the honor of being a champion,” explains the 29-year-old.

“My time training in martial arts has taught me to place emphasis on a lot of the little things because they matter. Showing respect to everyone, young or old, appreciating each individual’s journey – it’s all part of being a true champion.

“Remember, everyone has their own set of trials, and we can’t even begin to understand the battles that some people have to fight. As a World Champion, you have to recognize the responsibility you hold, that each of our actions affect others.”

Banario has found himself both at the top of his division and at the bottom of it. In the highest and lowest points of his career, “The Rock” says he has never once allowed his circumstances to alter his personality and the way he carries himself.

It is something that was ingrained in him from birth – through the lessons he was taught by his parents, and the name they gave him.

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Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, 25 December 2018

“Growing up, I have always been taught by my parents that honor is very important to have,” he says.

“Sometimes it is tempting to take the easy road and lose your integrity, but that’s not how I was brought up.

“I was raised by being taught that value of honor. It’s so important, it’s even in my name.”

His values – along with his all-action style in the cage – have helped to capture audiences’ imaginations and make him a hero in the Philippines.

Because of his status, he is able to pass on his message to the fans in his homeland – particularly the young Filipinos – as well as those who watch him across the globe. With any luck, his efforts will help to bring a little more positivity to people’s lives.

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Posted by ONE Championship on Wednesday, 2 January 2019

“Being honorable means you command respect because you are able to give it,” Banario adds.

“I believe it’s critical that we, as martial artists, always strive to carry honor in everything we do. There’s too much negativity in this world, and I want to do my part to change that through martial arts.”

Banario is set to participate in the highly-anticipated ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix, which kicks off in Manila at ONE: HERO’S ASCENT this Friday, 25 January.

“The Rock’s” campaign will begin in the quarter-finals at the Mall Of Asia Arena against the undefeated American Lowen Tynanes.

The winner of the eight-man tournament – which features athletes including Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez, and former ONE World Title challengers Amir Khan and Ev “E.T.” Ting – is expected to earn a shot at the lightweight belt.

However, the gold is currently held by Banario’s Team Lakay training partner Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang, whom he considers a brother.

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Even if Banario can reach the top of the lightweight division – and he says it will be a massive challenge – by winning three bouts in the bracket, and Folayang defends his World Championship against Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki at ONE: A NEW ERA, “The Rock” says there is no way he will face his friend.

“I don’t think there is anything in the world that can get me to fight my brother, Eduard,” he says.

“It doesn’t make sense to me. We are promoting real-life superheroes here in ONE Championship, so it’s not only about fighting. We want to be a good example, especially for the next generation of martial artists.

“Part of our job as ONE athletes is to change the world for the better, to help bring martial arts to the forefront of human society. Having honor for me means I get to stand side by side with my brother as the best in the world in our division.”

Manila | 25 January | 7:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super Apphttp://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Ticketshttp://bit.ly/oneascent19