Rene Catalan wants to take on the top contenders and secure a second title shot
Rene Catalan is one of the oldest strawweights on the ONE Championship roster. He celebrates his 42nd birthday at the end of the year.
Catalan currently sits at #3 in the rankings and definitely isn’t contemplating retirement right now. In fact he wants to face the champion again,
“I may be a bit older now, but make no mistake about it, I am still gunning for my dreams of one day winning a world title,” he said.
“I am willing to face anyone in order to get there (but) I hope to avoid my fellow Filipinos,” he said.
He would be eager to secure a rematch with former strawweight champion Alex Silva. The Brazilian submitted him on his professional debut in 2013 and Catalan acknowledges he would need to make some adjustments,
“If I face Silva again, I have to really focus on ground defense. It’s all about good preparation when facing someone as dangerous as him.”
Catalan didn’t win a single fight in the first three years of his MMA career. But once he started winning he didn’t stop, at least until he came up against reigning champion Pacio.
He also runs the rule over a possible rematch with Naito who he stopped in the opening round at ONE: ‘Reign of Valor’,
“He will definitely work double-time against me. He can certainly adjust like what he did against Alex Silva. I also expect him to polish his striking, and maybe play with me a bit on the feet before trying to impose his will on the ground.”
Catalan is currently 1-0 against Japanese opponents. He would welcome the opportunity to face off against #1 ranked former champion Yosuke Saruta,
“Saruta is a very good athlete. He is really strong,” he said.
The ONE Championship matchmakers might see things differently of course. But Catalan sees his path to another title shot as leading directly through Naito,
“Saruta is currently the #1 contender. I wouldn’t be surprised if he faces Pacio again so it’s very possible for me to get a rematch with Naito. I need to beat the #2 guy first so I have a chance to vie for #1,” he said.
Catalan might be the oldest fighter on the strawweight rankings. But he definitely doesn’t lack ambition and is looking to lock horns with the best fighters in the division.