Being an underdog has its advantages and that’s exactly what former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario wants to prove as he takes on Timofey Nastyukhin in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix.
The pair are set to clash in the main card of ONE: DAWN OF HEROES, which is set for 2 August when ONE Championship returns to the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila
Banario acknowledges that the odds are absolutely against him against the dynamic Russian striker. However, instead of cowering away with fear, the pride of Mankayan, Benguet is using it as motivation.
“I know that I am coming in as an underdog because Nastyukhin just keeps on winning against world class athletes. That only motivates me to train more,” said Banario.
“Expect me to come in more aggressive and more determined. I have the skills and the power as well so anything can happen on August 2. I’ll show that I am determined to make the finals and get the belt once again.”
It’s been quite a journey for Banario, who after winning the inaugural Flyweight World Title, went on a downward spiral with five straight losses.
A move to the lightweight division gave his career a shot in the arm, but his momentum was halted with a loss to Lowen Tynanes in the quarterfinals of the aforementioned tournament.
With Tynanes pulling out because of an injury, Banario got his second chance and it’s an opportunity he isn’t keen on wasting.
“Training’s been going well, I am in very good shape and I am stronger mentally and physically,” said the 29-year old.
“I realized a lot of things when I lost to Lowen and now I’m fixing it in training. I really want to bounce back and that’s why I’m really focused in this match.”
Being the underdog allows him to come in without any pressure and Banario believes that set-up works truly to his favor.
It’s something he hopes to take advantage of as Banario looks to shock the world with a huge win.
“There are a lot of things that could happen in our match. It could go to a decision but I believe one of us will get knocked out,” said Banario.
“I’ll give everything to make sure that it’s my hands that will be raised after that fight.”