Ryogo Takahashi got his ONE Championship career off to a successful start last year. The 30 year old is riding an eight fight winning streak and knows exactly what he wants to achieve in 2020,

“What I must do is win every match this year, and I want to get in the media more,” he said.

Takahashi’s mission to achieve these goals is already underway. He faces Thanh Le at ONE: ‘A New Tomorrow’ next Friday in Bangkok and another win for the promotion would probably put him in title contention.

Few fighters in the division can rival his winning streak and Takahashi enjoyed making his promotional debut at ONE: ‘For Honor’,

“I had three weeks to prepare so I focused on just my fitness. In the bout, my mind was blank and I couldn’t see his punches.”

Winning streak

Takahashi’s winning streak dates all the way back to 2015. It is a particularly impressive achievement when you consider he missed an entire year after suffering a broken thigh bone in training.

The Krazy Bee representative had to endure four operations after the leg became infected. He resumed his winning streak immediately after returning to competitive action but says it was tough to be away from the sport he loves,

“I was at conflict with myself the whole time, constantly worried. I thought about quitting but I couldn’t imagine myself without martial arts.”

His first love was actually football. But he found himself repeatedly getting into fights with opponents and decided that MMA would be a better way to channel this aggression,

“I realized that if I continued (football) I would get into fight after fight so I started martial arts,” he recalls.

Top contenders

Such has been Martin Nguyen’s dominance of the division that nearly all the top featherweights in the roster have already lost to the champion. Takahashi and Le are two of the top contenders making Friday’s fight a potential title eliminator.

But the Japanese fighter is just happy to be competing regularly again and playing his part in the spectacle that is a ONE Championship show,

“The fun of martial arts is the average guy can come and watch something he can’t normally see. It’s like aristocrats watching gladiators fighting lions.”

It will be interesting to see which role Takahashi plays in Bangkok. Will he parry and counter like the gladiator? Or will he launch ferocious attacks like the lion?

Both he and his opponent have a proven track record when it comes to finishing fights inside the distance. So the ‘aristocrats’ in attendance at the Impact Arena should get more than their money’s worth from this featherweight matchup.