Jeremy “The Jaguar” Miado‘s confidence is at an all-time high, and he’s hoping to ride his wave of positive momentum into the strawweight mixed martial arts rankings during 2022.
“The Jaguar” is coming off an impressive second-round TKO win against Miao Li Tao in October – his second straight victory over the Chinese athlete – and he credits a move to Marrok Force in Thailand for his improvements in the rematch.
Another dominant performance could catapult the Filipino into the World Title conversation, and he believes his new team in Bangkok can get him there.
In this exclusive interview, Miado speaks about sharpening his skills, his thoughts on fighting Ikeda, his ambitions for the future, and more.
ONE Championship: You’re facing a former Pancrase Champion in Senzo Ikeda. Do you think this is the biggest test of your career?
Jeremy Miado: Yes. He’s a very experienced fighter, and he’s no pushover. He’s already become a champion in Japan, and we all know the caliber of fighters there – they’re all very good. That’s why I consider him as my biggest test.
ONE: Break him down for us – what are his strengths and weaknesses?
JM: He’s a pressure fighter. I feel like that’s one thing that could give me a hard time, but I’m ready for that. We’ve been preparing for that for a long time.
I think his main game plan is to focus on grappling and use his wrestling to frustrate me. They know I’m a striker, so I expect them to cut the distance and disrupt my rhythm on the feet.
One advantage I have is my youth. I’m younger than him (29 vs. 39). He’s getting up there in age, and I think, cardio-wise, that’s an advantage for me. I know he can still work on it during training, but it’s hard to catch up.
I know I’ll have an advantage with my boxing and my age. While I’m preparing for his pressure and grappling, we’re prepared for everything. Wherever this match goes, I know I’m prepared.
ONE: How do you think the match will go?
JM: I feel like he’s going to pursue a takedown. I want to avoid getting taken down so I can turn it into a striking battle. But he’s also a decent striker. He has an unorthodox style on the feet, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides to stay on the feet. However, I expect him to use his bread and butter, which is his grappling.
ONE: Any chances of you going for a takedown?
JM: It all depends. If there’s an opening for me to go for a takedown, and I feel like I’d have an advantageous position there, then why not? But I’d prefer to keep it standing.
ONE: How do you want to end this match?
JM: I want a finish. I don’t want to leave it in the hands of the judges. Either a TKO or KO victory will work for me.
ONE: You’ve beaten Miao Li Tao consecutively in your last two fights, but you’ve said you improved a lot in the second fight. What changed?
JM: It was night and day. I think my wrestling skills really improved because that’s where my focus was during training. I just kept wrestling and rolling during the times I was waiting. My striking also improved, I feel like I’m a more well-rounded striker now. I was composed, I was balanced, everything I threw was calculated. I just didn’t throw punches for the heck of it. I kept my balance when I was striking to avoid being taken down easily.
ONE: Do you believe these improvements are a byproduct of your move to Marrok Force?
JM: Yes. Since I moved here, I have just been training – morning, afternoon, and night. I know that I can improve on a lot of my weaknesses here. That’s why I’m not wasting this opportunity.
ONE: Of all the skills you’ve worked on since joining Marrok Force, what do you think you’ve improved on the most?
JM: It’s got to be my wrestling. The level of wrestling here is different. The method of training is pretty much the same, but the level of skills and technique is way ahead here compared to the ones where I trained before. Sure, there are a lot of great wrestlers in the Philippines, but I never had a chance to train with them, be it because of logistics or whatnot.
Now, I’ve been given the opportunity to move to Thailand, and I’m happy that I get to work on my wrestling. It also helps that training never stops, so our improvement is pretty quick.
ONE: You didn’t get a top-five opponent for this fight, but you got a very good veteran in Senzo Ikeda. If you win do you think you deserve a ranked opponent?
JM: I know I deserve it if I win here. I really don’t have a problem with facing Ikeda, because this is an opportunity to showcase myself and prove that I belong in the rankings. I need to beat Ikeda to prove that I deserve a ranked opponent. I know there are a lot of great fighters in this weight class.