For Filipino ONE Championship star Danny Kingad, his martial arts career is as much about learning as it is about wins and losses.
Kingad boasts a 10-1 record, and says the most challenging contests in his career have proved to be the most educational as he looks to evolve and improve as a competitor.
His last outing was one such experience, as he battled Chinese national wrestling champion “The Southern Eagle” Ma Hao Bin at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER.
It was a back-and-forth battle that saw the pair go head-to-head for the full 15 minutes.
Kingad picked up the unanimous decision victory, but admits he came away from the contest a better martial artist after being tested by the Chinese contender.
“My last bout was one of my hardest, and I learned a lot from it,” the 22-year-old says.
“Props to Ma Hao Bin – he showed his strength and toughness. He was a really tough opponent and was hard to finish. He had some good takedowns and submission defence.
“Every time I wanted to stand and trade, he would shoot on me, which was tricky. I couldn’t land many clean strikes. I definitely proved to myself that I can beat a scrappy opponent in a hard fight.”
Kingad will look to use his added experience and knowledge in his next matchup against Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES in Jakarta on 22 September.
Pancrase Flyweight Tournament Champion Wakamatsu has a 10-2 record, with nine of those wins coming via KO or TKO.
That is a stat that doesn’t intimidate the fearless Kingad, but it is something the Filipino knows he will have to be wary of when they meet inside the ONE Championship cage.
“He is a dangerous opponent with a lot of knockouts. His style appears to favour striking over grappling. I think that is his strength,” Kingad explains.
“I would love to test his striking to see what that’s all about, and he looks skilled on the ground, also. He is a well-rounded fighter, and I think this will be a good test for me.
“I’m prepared to go wherever this fight takes me, whether that’s on the feet or on the ground. I’m ready.
“I don’t like to predict how things will end, but I am definitely looking for the finish. I want to make a statement and let everyone know that my skills are improving.
“This game is highly competitive, and there are a lot of guys looking to get to the top. My job is to beat whoever is in front of me.”
Kingad is already considered one of the elite competitors in the ONE flyweight division, but that status can be damaged with defeat, and “The King” knows victory is essential if he is to maintain his course towards a second shot at the ONE Strawweight World Title.
With teammate and close friend Joshua Pacio set to compete in the main event on the same night, Kingad admits he is heading into the contest with added motivation to succeed.
He wants to claim victory not just for himself, but also to boost his teammate’s confidence ahead of his World Title tilt against ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka Naito.
“I’m not going to lie – there is added pressure for me to win,” he admits.
“Me and Joshua are competing on the same card. That, to me, is special.
“I have to win for my friend, so I’m preparing very hard so that I can beat this dangerous opponent.”