If it were up to ONE Championship flyweight contender Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, his entire family would be following in his footsteps to take up martial arts.
Ever since his childhood in Baguio City, Philippines, Eustaquio wanted to be a professional martial artist. His parents, however, did not understand, and it took some convincing before they could grasp what their son wanted to do with his life.
“At first, my mother was against me taking up martial arts. She was afraid it would interfere with my studies. But I was so determined to become a martial artist, I kept pursuing it,” the 28-year-old says.
“At the same time, I did not neglect school, but I had to follow my passion, so I kept training. I kept honing my skills and getting better every day.”
The Philippine culture is simple, “Gravity” explains. People go to school, graduate with a degree, and look for stable jobs. But that was not how he envisioned living his life.
Eustaquio craved the life of an athlete, one who always competed against the world’s best, and he was determined to follow his passion.
“I was hard-headed and stubborn. I had to prove to them that I could handle being an athlete and finish school at the same time,” said a determined Eustaquio.
He eventually fulfilled his parents’ wishes and completed his studies, even earning a Master’s Degree in Physical Education from the University Of The Cordilleras. Ironically, that is where he met Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao, and achieved his dream of becoming a martial artist.
Today, “Gravity” is one of the most highly-skilled flyweights on ONE’s elite roster of talent. The Filipino is a former flyweight world title challenger who is considered among the cream of the crop in the division.
He has defeated some of the biggest names in the promotion thus far, including Gianni Subba, Saiful Merican, and current ONE Strawweight World Champion Alex Silva, and has achieved much throughout his seven-year career thus far.
It is the most important bout of his life, and making it extra special is the fact that his mother and father will be watching. While his parents tried to dissuade their eldest son from his martial arts dreams during his childhood, they have recently come around.
Now, they are his biggest fans.
“The turning point came when my parents really understood that there was nothing that could stop me from following my passion, from training in martial arts. It is my true calling in life,” Eustaquio says.
“Now, after all this time, seeing the good that martial arts did in my life, I have their full support. I like to think that they are alongside me each time I enter the cage. They are extremely proud of what I have accomplished, and they finally understand that this is what I love to do.
“They all wanted me to get a regular job, but things did not turn out the way everyone expected. Now they are the ones who push me to train harder. They told me that if I wanted to become a world champion, that I need to work harder. Funny how things work out the way they do. I was destined to do this.”
Just 15 years ago, Eustaquio had a choice. He could either follow the path laid before him and finish school before getting job, or choose a road less traveled and full of countless unknowns.
For him, it was an easy decision. Martial arts, he says, is more than a combat sport. It s a way of life.
“We learn so many things from martial arts that we can apply in real-life situations. Some of these lessons you cannot find within the four walls of a classroom. I am happy with the decision I made, and now, I am at the peak of my career. A world title is very close, and I feel like this is my time. I would not trade this life for anything.”
When he meets Akhmetov later this month, he will not suffer the same fate of a split decision loss. Instead, “Gravity” plans to stop him and claim the belt.
“I will push the pace more,” Eustaquio says.
“I am now more confident with my striking than ever before. This time, I am going to finish this bout like I should have the first go-around.
“To make my family, my friends, and my fans proud, to become a world champion, this means a lot to me. I am going to give it my all.”