RENE Catalan finally gets the title shot he's been craving for, taking on fellow Filipino and the reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio in the main event of ONE: Masters of Fate Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.
It's a long time coming for the 40-year-old Catalan, who has bid his time and silently won his last six matches to set up this all-Filipino clash.
And 'D' Challenger" won't waste this golden chance to finally be called a champion.
"I'm super confident heading into this matchup. Becoming a mixed martial arts world champion has been a goal of mine for a long time. Now, I have the opportunity to fulfill my dream," he said. "I know chances like this don’t come often, so I’m giving this everything I have. I don’t plan on leaving the ring without that belt."
Hungry as Catalan is for glory, Pacio is also heading in upbeat, all the more as he test his mettle against one of the top Filipino fighters in the weight division after reclaiming the belt from Yosuke Saruta last April.
"Rene Catalan is a worthy challenger and I'm expecting only the best from him,” said the 23-year-old Team Lakay prodigy.
"As always, I take this as an opportunity to test my skills. He’s a veteran who has been fighting his whole life. I have also been impressed by his recent performances, especially against Yoshitaka Naito."
Pacio (14-3) and Catalan (6-2, 1 NC) do agree that it's going to be a collision course for the ages as they show the best of the Philippine mixed martial arts scene.
"No matter who wins, the honor and glory go to the Philippines,” Catalan said.
Pacio, nicknamed "The Passion" responded: "Putting on a show for all the Filipino people, it’s always something I am excited for. It's rare that a Filipino will fight another Filipino for a world title, but I’m glad to be part of history."
Former two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang also marks his return when he battles Mongolian foe Amarsanaa Tsogookhuu in the co-main event.
Ex-ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje Eustaquio also seeks redemption against Finnish contender Toni Tauru after losing in their first faceoff in 2016.
Robin Catalan completes the four Filipinos heading into the ring in the Manila fightcard as he tackles Cuban wrestler Gustavo Balart in the undercard.