Filipino strawweight sensation Jeremy “The Jaguar” Miado, who hails from the province of Albay in the Philippines, looked up to his father all throughout his life, and considered him his personal hero.
That is why having to compete at ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS in Manila, mere days after his father passed away, was a particularly hard pill to swallow.
“The most important influence in my childhood was my father. My dad was my hero, because he’s someone I looked up to every single day,” he shared.
Miado’s father supported him in the early stages of his martial arts journey, as he started out with boxing at a local training facility in his hometown.
Growing up, Miado idolized Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao, and it was not unusual for him and his friends to mimic the legendary eight-division boxing world champion during their free time.
“Manny Pacquiao was my idol. I wanted to be just like him when I was a teenager. He was so amazing during his prime as a boxer,” Miado said.
Although it was just a few buddies playing around back then, Miado’s commitment to boxing took a serious turn at the age of 20, when he had to drop out from his Criminology course at Bicol College to help support his family financially.
“I knew I had to do something to help out, anything,” he recalled. “I could not watch my family go through hardship, so I knew it was up to me to change our situation.”
According to Miado, his father was a bit hesitant about his decision to leave school and become a pugilist.
“I guess it’s normal for parents to be worried, because what we do is so physical. But I thank him for respecting my decision to drop out and put my focus on martial arts,” he stated.
“Even though he didn’t agree with me, my father knew that I was doing it for the family.”
As his parents barely made enough money to provide for the family, strapping on gloves was his only choice, hoping to emulate how Pacquiao fought his way out of bleak circumstances with his fists.
Miado showed lots of promise, garnering a solid record of 32 wins and two losses as an amateur boxer.
He dedicated time and effort to his training, but replicating what the Filipino boxing icon has accomplished was a monumental task.
With no promoters in the region to take young prospects on the route towards money and success, Miado needed a different angle, leaving home for Manila.
“When I decided to move to Manila because there were a lot more opportunities, I discovered mixed martial arts. It enticed me to try it and make a career out of it,” he disclosed.
When a college friend introduced Miado to Muay Thai, he quickly fell in love with it, adding “The Art of Eight Limbs” to his arsenal. As he progressed deeper into martial arts, Miado dabbled in different combat disciplines, such as wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
With his passion for martial arts growing as the days went by, Miado eventually won the support of his loving father.
“He understood where I was coming from. He started to notice the values that I learned from martial arts. After seeing the beauty of it, he ended up my biggest fan,” he revealed.
After diligently studying different forms of martial arts, Miado made his cage debut in January 2016, winning his first six assignments and the Blaze FC Strawweight Title.
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His success in the cage earned him the attention of ONE Championship.
Under the ONE banner, “The Jaguar” owns two astonishing knockout victories, including a shocking first-round finish of former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke at ONE: IRON WILL last March. The huge win was recently named ONE Championship’s Biggest Surprise of the Year 2018.
However, his toughest test was this past November, when Miado had to push through tremendous adversity to claim the most emotionally-charged win of his young career.
The 26-year-old Filipino striker defeated China’s Peng Xue Wen via second-round stoppage at ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS, which took place in front of his countrymen at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
While the partisan crowd cheered over his spectacular triumph, Miado closed his eyes, raised his hands in celebration, and dedicated the impressive showing to his father, who passed away just five days prior to his bout against Peng.
“I drew strength from him for that fight. He supported me in this journey. The only thing that I could do at that moment was to repay his support with a victory,” he stressed.
“I was ready to throw in the towel, but my family and team gave me the motivation and the drive to enter the cage.
“Even though my father is gone, I still have them. My friends and family are now the source of my strength.”
Miado was tenacious from the opening bell, and displayed marked improvements by successfully defending the Chinese wrestler’s takedown attempts.
He threw all of his punches and kicks with authority, and never showed any signs of losing steam.
The finish came at the 35-second mark of round two. Miado dropped Peng with a right uppercut, and then threw follow-up punches until referee Yuji Shimada stopped the contest.
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Miado takes great pleasure in knowing he honored his father’s memory well.
“I knew that if I won, he would be happy,” he expressed. “The moment I won, I knew he was happy from up there. I know he was with me. I know he was watching, so I did my best to win.”
Knowing that life will never be a straightforward pathway, Miado remains optimistic, and believes that he has to be more persistent than ever.
“Life can get hard and things can go wrong, but no matter what happens, I’ve got to stay strong for my family,” he stated.
“I know deep in my heart that difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”