After an impressive win to kick off his 2019, Danny “The King” Kingad says he is ready to take on the best athletes in his division as part of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
“The King’s” performance at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines has given him confidence ahead of potentially three bouts in the bracket, which he will need to win to claim its title.
Danny "The King" Kingad authors a stellar all-around performance to secure a unanimous decision victory over Tatsumitsu Wada!Watch the full event LIVE & FREE on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, January 25, 2019
However, that is not because of what he considered to be an outstanding performance. In fact, the 23-year-old rates his performance as average,
“I give my performance a rating of three out of five stars,” he says.
“I made a lot of mistakes, and I could have done so much better. There were times when I felt I could have gone for the finish, but I wasn’t able to. I think a lot of it had to do with the pressure to perform.”
Kingad and Team Lakay coach Mark Sangiao were also sure that Wada would want to take matters to the ground.
They were shocked in the first minute of the contest when Wada attempted to strike with the wushu stalwart.
“I was surprised a little. He caught me off guard. I didn’t realize he was so flexible, and he’s very strong,” Kingad admits.
“I felt the power in his strikes. I thought he was all ground game, but I was wrong.”
Kingad and his team can be reassured that if he is still able to put on such an impressive performance – and win via unanimous decision – when he is not firing on all cylinders, the future looks bright if he can perform to his full potential.
He is enjoying a sudden surge of energy and enthusiasm as he prepares to take the next big leap in his quest to be known as one of the best flyweights in the world. He says he is now ready to mix it up with seven more of the elite in his weight class.
“This bout serves as the perfect preparation for the tournament. For me, I was able to test all of my skills in this bout, whether that is in striking or in grappling. It has served its purpose,” he explains.
“Now I know exactly what I need to work on in preparation to enter the Grand Prix,” said Kingad.
ONE’s flyweight division is one of the deepest in the world, and Kingad is not overconfident, given the challenges that he could face.
As it stands, pound-for-pound great Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is the favorite to win it all. The American faces Japan’s Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu in the first quarter-final bout at ONE: A NEW ERA in Tokyo, Japan on 31 March.
The rest of the quarter-finals have yet to be announced, allowing armchair matchmakers’ imaginations – as well as Kingad’s – to run wild thinking about the potential mouth-watering match-ups.
“I think it’s possible I take on Reece McLaren first. Reece also beat Wada before, and it makes sense that we face each other next,” he says.
“But I wouldn’t be surprised if it were someone else. There’s a lot of dangerous guys in my division.
“As for Kairat, I’ve wanted to fight him for a long time, and I’ve been asking for that bout, but I’ll be ready no matter who I’m matched up with.”
Victory against Wada brought Kingad’s winning streak up to four bouts in a row, and improved his overall record to a stunning 11-1.
As one of the fastest-evolving athletes in all of mixed martial arts, it would not be a stretch to think he could go far in the grand prix, no matter who he comes up against.
He is already back in training, prepared and waiting for the call to confirm his entry into the historic tournament.
“I’m ready as I will ever be,” Kingad concludes.
“I can’t wait to get in this tournament and face the best in my division. This is what I’ve always wanted, and now it’s happening.”