Most mixed martial artists are focused on breaking into the rankings or getting a World Title shot.
That mentality normally applies to Miao Li Tao, but his attention is elsewhere at the moment. Right now, the only thing that’s on his mind is redemption.
On Friday, 29 October, the Chinese juggernaut will have the opportunity to avenge the toughest loss of his career when he meets Filipino striker Jeremy “The Jaguar” Miado in a strawweight clash at ONE: NEXTGEN in Singapore.
“If you let me choose a title shot over this fight, I would even say no to that. That’s how much this fight means to me,” Miao states.
“I don’t think beating Miado will help me get any closer to the [top-five] rankings, but it will definitely help me with my heart and spirit.”
For Miao, it’s personal.
The Beijing native initially squared off with Miado at ONE: AGE OF DRAGONS in November 2019. He entered the clash on a three-bout winning streak and looked to impressively extend that string of success in front of his hometown crowd.
In the first round, Miao tried submitting the Filipino with a pair of guillotine choke attempts and then walked him down and threw heavy leather. But as the Chinese hero stepped forward with a left hook, “The Jaguar” leaped into the air and instantly knocked him out with a flying knee to the chin.
That KO snapped his winning streak and marked his first defeat in ONE Championship. Also, it remains the only time he has been finished in his nearly six-year-long mixed martial arts career.
Although the Filipino strawweight emerged victorious that night in China’s capital city, Miao still thinks he is the far superior athlete and knows where things went wrong.
“I never believed that Miado was the better fighter,” he says. “I was just going too rough and wasn’t careful enough.”
Since that battle two years ago, each man has been dramatically fine-tuning their skills.
Miao has continued his training at Sunkin International Fight Club and has enjoyed success in 2021.
The 29-year-old avenged a previous decision loss to Ryuto “Dragon Boy” Sawada with a stellar performance this past April, and though he fell to #4-ranked Alex “Little Rock” Silva in August, he hung tough and threatened the Brazilian throughout the three rounds.
And while Miado has yet to compete this year, he has been spending his time alongside ONE siblings Drex and Denice “Lycan Queen” Zamboanga at Marrok Force in Bangkok, Thailand, where he has taken his grappling and submission defense to another level.
That said, both men should enter the Singapore Indoor Stadium for their rematch at the top of their respective games. But while “The Jaguar” is looking to use this matchup as a springboard into the rankings, the Beijing native is driven to achieve victory to get peace of mind.
“Personally, this fight is probably bigger than any other fight I’ve ever had before,” Miao says.
“As a fighter, getting revenge on a heartbreaking loss is the most important thing. Now, I’m 100 percent focused on this fight. Nothing else can stop me from avenging my loss to Jeremy.”
But the Chinese star doesn’t just want to avenge his loss to Miado. He wants to return the favor and deliver a highlight-reel KO of his own.
“This time, I’ll just stick to my game plan and do my thing, and I will be the winner without a doubt,” Miao says.
“I got finished the last time, so there’s no excuse for me not to finish him this time. I will put on a show and knock him out unconscious for good.”