The world is about to witness the rebirth of Yohan “The Ice Man” Mulia Legowo.
On Friday, 8 March, the Indonesian mixed martial arts pioneer will make his long-awaited return to ONE Championship.
“I am very excited,” the Solo, Indonesia resident says. “I have been wanting to return to the cage.”
Legowo, who made his professional debut in October 2002, has not competed inside the cage since last year.
The 38-year-old had devoted much of his time to growing his martial arts school, Han Academy, and coaching professional athletes like his student, Abro “The Black Komodo” Fernandes.
Now that everything is in order, “The Ice Man” has turned his attention back to his mixed martial arts career and plans to use his next bout as a proving ground. He wants to remind everyone that he is still an elite competitor.
“My passion and spirit are burning, just like in my early days [of competition],” he says.
“I probably wasn’t too focused since I was too busy. Recently, this team has been working in order, so you can say that I am already more focused to enter the cage.”
With a renewed passion, Legowo is looking to make a statement in Myanmar.
He has intensified his physical endurance and fortified his techniques ahead of his co-main event battle with Phoe Thaw.
That will be especially important for the Indonesian National Kickboxing and Submission Grappling Champion, as his 34-year-old Yangon rival is a knockout artist who constantly pressures his opponents.
“I think I can be better in terms of ground play,” the veteran says.
“He actually has great kickboxing basics, which he utilizes with his taller posture. He has a better striking range, too.
“In this case, I have to find the perfect timing and not strike abruptly. It will be dangerous for me to strike recklessly, as he may throw some elbow or knee strikes.”
“The Ice Man” will also have to contend with the passionate fans inside the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium who will be cheering their hero to victory.
Phoe Thaw has become a star in his native Myanmar, as he has thrilled his countrymen with a quintet of dazzling first-round knockouts.
Also, he is helping to grow the local scene and develop the country’s next generation of mixed martial artists at his gym, Team PT.
Despite all the support “Bushido” will receive from his home crowd on 8 March, Legowo will not be intimidated when he steps into the cage. He will tune out the noise and focus on the task at hand.
“That is not much of a problem for me. No matter how many supporters he has, I am only fighting against one person,” the Indonesian explains.
“He might enjoy [competing in front of his fans], as he may feel that he has more friends. But somehow, it can also become a burden.”
Legowo may feel like he has something to prove this Friday, but he is not feeling any pressure.
He is completely focused on bringing a victory back to Indonesia and continuing his mixed martial arts career on solid footing.