ONE-TIME world title challenger Rene Catalan is focused on one thing alone, and that is to once again challenge for the ONE Championship strawweight belt.
“I’m hungry. My goal is to become ranked No. 1,” Catalan said.
Currently ranked No. 3 in the strawweight division, Catalan faces a roadblock in his goal for a title shot. He faces young South African prospect Bokang Masunyane in the undercard of ONE Championship: “Big Bang” on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.
“After I fought Josua Pacio, I’ve been more inspired and motivated. Bokang is a young Lion; he’s strong. I prepared well and I’ll bounce back strong,” he said.
Catalan earned his world title shot last year. He challenged Pacio in front of a sold-out crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena but lost in the second round via an arm triangle choke.
Despite being 41 years old, Catalan believes that he has still a few competitive years left in him.
“For me, in MMA I’m still young. I started at 35 years old. I’m still a beginner in the MMA world. I think I still have five more years before I’ll retire. I discipline myself to compete. I focus on my goal,” he said.
Masunyane had a breakout year in 2019. The 26-year-old fought in famed Japanese organization Pancrase and beat Yusuke Ogikubo by unanimous decision and made his ONE Championship debut with another unanimous decision over Ryuto Sawada.
Catalan is 6-3, while Masunyane is 7-0.
In the undercard, Catalan’s teammate Jomary Torres (4-4) returns to the ONE Championship cage against up-and-comer Ritu Phogat (3-0).
Torres lost his last four fights and is coming off a first round triangle choke loss to Jihin Radzuan on July 12, 2019.
Phogat, on the other hand, just saw action on Oct. 30, 2020 and stopped Nou Srey Pov in the second round. / EKA