Filipino fighter Rene Catalan is in for the long haul.

Rene Catalan (ONE Championship)

Catalan, already a veteran in the mixed martial arts scene, has set sights on ONE Championship’s world strawweight title before hanging his gloves for good.

“Yes, I am a veteran athlete and I know I’m about to face young fighters. I know that in combat sports, people will always look at the younger fighter as the one who holds the advantage,” admitted the 42-year-old Catalan.

“But there’s no question on my drive, my fire to be considered a contender again. Like I said, I’m motivated to challenge for the belt again and become the world champion before I retire.”

After back-to-back losses, Catalan was booted out of the Top 5 strawweight rankings,

The founder of the Catalan Fighting System now faces a tall order to get back his winning ways when he faces former world champion Alex Silva in ONE: NEXTGEN III on Nov. 26.

Catalan yielded to reigning strawweight king Joshua Pacio of Team Lakay in November 2019 before suffering another devastating loss to now No. 2 contender Bokang Masunyane in December last year.

Interestingly, Pacio already scored a split decision win against Silva in January 2020 to keep the strawweight belt.

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Looking back, Catalan admitted that his “heart wasn’t there” when he clashed with his compatriot in Pacio.

“I guess it’s always going to be there, that you feel half-hearted because we all want to bring glory to the country but we have to face each other,” said Catalan, who holds a 6-4 MMA record. “I still aimed to win that match because it really was my dream to win a world championship before I retire.”

Meanwhile, Silva is fresh from unanimouis decision victory against Chinese foe Miao Li Tao last August to improve at 10-6 card.

Source: Manila Bulletin (