Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan has been out of mixed martial arts competition for over a year. But on Friday Night, 21 April, the Filipino strawweight will make his return to the ONE Championship cage.
Catalan plans to use this upcoming bout with Miado as a stepping stone to an eventual championship opportunity.
“I am very eager and definitely very hungry to fight again,” he says. “I want to win this fight and work my way up to a title shot,” says Catalan.
A former IFMA World Muay Thai Champion, Catalan holds a 5-2 record, with two wins coming by way of TKO and another two by submission. In March of 2016, his four-fight win streak was snapped when Alex “Little Rock” Silva tapped him out with a triangle choke at ONE: UNION OF WARRIORS. Since then, a number of injuries have kept the young warrior on the sidelines.
Fighters almost always want the chance to step back into the cage as soon as possible following losses, determined to get the bitter taste of defeat out of their mouths. Catalan has had to wait for over a year to do so.
“I have spent the past year recovering from injuries, and have focused my training on areas where I still need improvements,” he explains.
The mental challenges of recovering from a loss, combined with recovering physically from injuries, were not even the most difficult part of being out of competition for so long.That came in the form of trying to make ends meet.
“The main challenge for me has been mostly financial,” he explains. “Being out of competition made it hard for me to provide financial support for my family and team.”
Still, Catalan soldiered on, and now finds himself on the eve of battle once more. He admits that there were some benefits to his time off. For example, he says he was able to work on sharpening his instincts. Those instincts crave the fight he will soon get, but his opponent has been doing the same, too.
Miado, who trains out of Sucuri MMA in Manila, is a Blaze FC Strawweight Champion who owns a perfect 6-0 record. The 24-year-old, who has an extensive amateur boxing background, will be making his promotional debut, and is determined to spoil Catalan’s return.
“The Ilonggo” is not concerned. He is just thrilled to compete again, and showcase the weapons he has added to his arsenal with the rest of the Catalan brothers at Catalan Fighting System.
“The difference [on fight night] will be how I apply my new skills,” he concludes. “I am definitely happy to fight this guy.”
The past year may have been rough for Catalan, but now he is back, and taming “The Jaguar” is the first step on a path towards greatness.