Multiple-time wushu world champion Rene "The Challenger" Catalan of the Philippines is one of the most decorated wushu athletes ever to transition to mixed martial arts.
After nabbing a six-bout win streak over the course of three years, Catalan has earned a shot at ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio. The two mix it up on 8 November at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, in the main event of ONE: MASTERS OF FATE.
“I’m one hundred percent focused on getting this belt,” Catalan said. “It’s every fighter’s dream to become a World Champion. I’m hungry and determined to win the title.”
While Pacio more professional than Catalan in the field of mixed martial arts, the elder athlete has been competing in amateur competitions for most of his life. Both athletes are wushu specialists, but Catalan believes he has what it takes to beat the La Trinidad native.
Nevertheless, Pacio has proved sensational in his most recent performances. He’s firmly the leader of the pack and with not a lot of perceived weaknesses. Still, Catalan is confident he can pull off the upset.
“Joshua Pacio is only human,” Catalan said.
“Just like every other fighter, he has his strengths and weaknesses. We’re going to try and deal with that in the fight. It all comes down to the game plan we have heading into this. It’s going to be an exciting contest.”
Catalan has achieved many accolades and has even won gold medals at the Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games, and Asian Championships. “The Challenger” is proud to have represented the Philippines a number of times in international athletic events, but this time, he is zeroing in on the ONE World Title.
“I love my country and it is always an honor to represent the Philippines,” Catalan said.
“I’ve worn the flag for most of my athletic career, and I have always considered it a privilege. Through competing, I aim to show everyone the principles of martial arts. I am not just fighting for my team, but also for the glory of my almighty God.”