With the influx of young warriors emerging on the ONE Championship stage, there is one more thing Rene “The Challenger” Catalan is out to prove.
For the 40-year-old founder of Catalan Fighting System, it’s simply that age is just a number.
“I know that there’s a huge advantage of being a young athlete, but I want to prove that at the end of the day, it still boils down to discipline,” he said.
“I want to show to the public that age isn’t a hindrance. You can still reach your dreams by staying disciplined.”
In retrospect, the Iloilo City native could hang up his gloves right now and retire as a very accomplished martial artist.
Back in 2006, Catalan won an Asian Games gold medal in wushu for the Philippines, which resulted in him being named the Athlete Of The Year by the Philippine Sportswriters Association.
Also, he has countless titles in that sport, including multiple Wushu World Championships.
In ONE, Catalan has certainly proven he can hang with the best, as he has racked up six consecutive wins after a shaky start in his mixed martial arts career.
As accomplished as he is, there is still business to be done in the world’s largest martial arts organization — and that has become his entire focus now.
“Winning the World Title before this year ends would be the best thing that I can get for my 41st birthday. There would be no better gift for me,” he explained.
“I have dedicated most of my life to sports, and it has always been my dream to become a World Champion. That is why this early I’m already preparing, in case that opportunity comes.”
From the looks of it, “The Challenger” is certainly close to realizing that dream.
Catalan’s biggest moment in the ONE Circle came last March when he defeated former titleholder Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito at ONE: REIGN OF VALOR.
That first-run stoppage win effectively put him on the ONE Strawweight World Title radar, a belt which is currently held by Joshua “The Passion” Pacio.
Regardless if he faces Pacio next or not, Catalan vows to be at his very best.
“I’ll do everything to become a World Champion and now that I’m near my goal, I am just going to keep going,” he said. “I’ll do everything to prove I deserve that shot.”