The ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix quarter-final bout was one of the most exciting match-ups of the year so far, as the Filipino and Japanese warriors went toe-to-toe, back-and-forth for three frenetic rounds.
Filipino phenom Danny "The King" Kingad punches his ticket into the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix semifinals with a sensational unanimous decision win over Senzo Ikeda!Watch the full event on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, March 31, 2019
Every area of mixed martial arts was covered, and each man had moments where it looked like they might come close to a finish, but their rival always survived and kept coming for the full 15 minutes.
In the end, the Team Lakay representative had done enough to earn the favor of each judge to claim the unanimous decision and move on to face Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov in the second round of ONE Championship’s tournament that has the whole martial arts world talking.
Now that the dust has settled on his latest incredible battle, “The King” reveals what he has taken away from such a tough test, and how he plans to attack the rest of the World Grand Prix.
ONE Championship: What did you think about your performance against Senzo Ikeda?
Danny Kingad: It was a good fight. I think I did very well, although there were some areas I think I could really improve.
The hard training helped a lot. Senzo was a tough opponent. I really hit him with a lot of shots, but I was surprised he just kept coming. I can see why he was able to become a World Champion.
I also grew a lot from this fight. This experience has taught me a lot of things. I have to be more aggressive and assert myself a little more. I have to be more confident in myself.
ONE: How did it feel to compete in Japan on such a historic card?
DK: I want to be back on the next Tokyo card. I seriously enjoyed my time in Japan, it was an experience I won’t ever forget.
Just being there with the team was amazing, and the event was absolutely historic. It had that big-fight feel to it. Just walking into the arena gave me goosebumps.
With the whole world watching, there was also a lot of pressure to perform too. It was good pressure, and I think it brought out the best in me. I was also happy to see a lot of Filipino fans come to the event and cheer us on.
ONE: What was the biggest lesson you had learned about yourself from this bout?
DK: I think I proved to myself that I could take on such a dangerous opponent and survive to the end even though he was incredibly strong and durable. It was a great mental and physical victory for me.
Senzo was an animal, much respect to him. He has a rock-solid chin and took everything I threw at him. My corner was yelling, I could hear them. I think they were just as surprised as I was with Senzo.
Much credit to Senzo Ikeda, that was the toughest bout of my career. With that, I’m a much better fighter now than ever before.
ONE: How much are you looking forward to the rest of the tournament?
DK: The ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix, this tournament, makes things so exciting. After the victory over Senzo, I was just pumped. I can’t wait for the next round, and I’m 100-percent focused on that right now.
The goal is to get to the end and eventually challenge for the World Title. I don’t care who’s in my way. We are all just men and anyone can win in any given bout.
My next opponent is a former World Champion and is a great challenge, but me and my team will make sure we are prepared for anything.
ONE: Do you think your match with Kairat Akmetov can live up to this one with Ikeda?
DK: I’ve wanted to face Kairat Akhmetov for the longest time. I’ve been calling for a fight against him for the past two years.
Now that the fight is here, it’s time to perform. I just think my style and his style match up great. He’s an awesome wrestler, and I really want to test my wrestling against him. I want to go to the ground and see who is stronger. I am not intimidated by him at all. I am excited to face him. It’s going to be a good match.
We’re both well-rounded athletes. We can go strike-for-strike, and we can also hit the mat and grapple. I think anywhere this fight goes, the fans will be happy.
You can be sure I’m preparing for him very well. There’s no date for the fight yet, but I expect it to be soon, so I have to stay ready.
ONE: What do you feel about the prospect of facing Demetrious Johnson somewhere down the road?
DK: It would be an absolute honor. I grew up watching Demetrious Johnson, and the thought of now being able to face him in the cage is crazy to me.
That would be the ultimate challenge – my dream fight. He’s the best in the world. Just to be able to test my skills against him would be a dream come true.
But I’m not thinking about Demetrious right now. He’s so far away, I have a long way to go. Right now, it’s all about Kairat Akhmetov. I have to get past him first. He’s a former World Champion, and he has more experience than me.