Rene Catalan turns 42 next week and is coming off an unsuccessful title shot. You might think the Filipino would be contemplating retirement but you would be wrong.

Instead Catalan, who faces Bokang Masunyane at ONE: ‘Big Bang’ on Friday, is eyeing up a second run at the strawweight title,

“My goal is to come up and take the top ranking in the division. I am hungry and I will fight like it so I can reach my goal of being number one again and challenging the champion once more.”

Joshua Pacio kicks Rene Catalan

Early days

It is clear that Catalan is not contemplating retirement. He started MMA relatively late in life and feels like his career is still in its infancy,

“Honestly, I look at myself as a beginner in mixed martial arts. I started when I was 35, so I started late, but it’s all about discipline and focus.”

For Catalan the focus is clear and he is not content to be merely improve his ranking or remain among the top contenders. He wants to fight for the belt again,

“(I) focus on my goal of becoming a champion and helping my students reach their dreams,” he said.

Rene Catalan cross

Bouncing back

He faces an unranked opponent who has a better record than any other strawweight on the roster. Masunyane is 7-0 and Catalan is impressed by what he has seen of the South African,

“We saw that his wrestling skill is really, really high. That’s why we’re on the lookout for his wrestling skills.”

Catalan knows his takedown defence will need to be on point and says he has been working hard to ensure he is ready for Masunyane’s wrestling game,

“As soon as we scouted him we started working on how to defend his wrestling. He’s a young lion and he’s really strong but with preparation this time, I know we can bounce back.”

Rene Catalan armbar

Age gap

The loss to strawweight champion Joshua Pacio at ONE: ‘Masters of Fate’ snapped a six year, five fight winning streak for the Filipino. He is determined to get back to winning ways this week at the expense of an opponent 15 years his junior.

Catalan believe the fight will be a fun one for the fans but ultimately he sees it as an opportunity to earn another shot at the strawweight title,

“It’s going to be an explosive fight. I know Bokang is really hungry to win this fight, but I am hungry to bounce back as well so I can get another title shot.”