It is well established that Gustavo Balart is the smallest man on the strawweight roster. But the Cuban has big ambitions and after back to back wins he wants a ONE Championship title shot.

The 4’11” fighter is coming off comfortable decision wins over Ryuto Sawada and Yosuke Saruta. He has broken the top five and feels his next fight should have a title on the line,

“Now I’m #4 in the division, which should give me the chance to fight for the title. There is no doubt, my next fight should be for the strawweight title. This is the only thing I’m focusing on, and I’m confident I will make it.”

Fully focused 

The strawweight division has become synonymous with trash taking since the signing of Jarred Brooks. He and Joshua Pacio have been going back and forth but Balart avoided naming any potential opponents,

“I don’t care about a name or who has the world title. I only care about that belt, and whoever has it, has to be my next opponent. I hope it’s soon.”

It is clear that either Pacio or Brooks will hold the belt as they are both set to fight soon. Saruta already holds a win over the Filipino champion but Balart believes he had the perfect strategy to win that particular contest,

“I went into this fight focused, I studied (him), found his gaps and focused my fight on boxing as we are both (grapplers) so there was no need to test our strengths in that aspect.”

Proud Latino

Many had expected that fight to play out on the mat with Balart coming from a wrestling background and Saruta being a submission specialist. But Balart says his standup skills turned out to be the key to a decision victory,

“That’s what gave me the win. I punched him hard several times and showed my boxing game. I didn’t want to pressure myself into knocking him out because for me, the most important thing at the end of the night was to win in any way possible.”

ONE Championship has had several champions from South America. Brazilians are dominating in the flyweight and bantamweight divisions at present.

But Balart, who hails from Cuba, is a proud Latino. He is representing a slightly different region of South America and wants to become its first ever ONE Championship title holder,

“For all my Latinos, for all the people who follow me, keep in mind that Gustavo Balart will be the champion of ONE Championship. I want to tell my people that I am not going to let them down, and I will be the first Latin Champion in ONE Championship.”