(Photo from ONE Championship)
Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov and Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes are arguably two of the most outstanding flyweights in the world today, and both men will slug it out for the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Championship title in the main event of ONE: CONQUEST OF KINGS in Surabaya, Indonesia on 29 July.
However, another exceptional flyweight mixed martial arts (MMA) competitor is waiting on the wings to get his opportunity to vie for the coveted gold-plated strap.
A true warrior from the mountains of the Cordilleras and one of the top prospects to come out of Baguio City, Team Lakay’s Danny Kingad aims to cement his stature as one of the highly-regarded flyweights in the flourishing Asian MMA scene.
The 21-year-old Igorot warrior holds an unblemished professional record of 5-0, with one knockout victory and one submission triumph.
Kingad is a tremendous striker, who also possesses solid grappling skills. In his most recent ONE Championship outing, he met a tough test in Malaysia’s Muhammad Aiman, putting on a complete performance en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Part of the talented new breed of Team Lakay fighters, Kingad will have his fourth assignment as a much-regarded ONE Championship athlete on 29 July as he is set to take on China’s Hexigetu on the undercard of ONE: CONQUEST OF KINGS, which takes place at the GOR Kertajaya Arena in Surabaya, Indonesia.
“It will be an exciting fight. I will do my best. If he wants to strike, then I will strike with him. I cannot say I will knock him out, but I can only say I will win this fight,” Kingad confidently stated.
Kingad believes that his scheduled three-round flyweight encounter with Hexigetu could be his stepping-stone to the upper echelon of ONE Championship’s 61.2-kilogram weight class.
With ONE Championship housing high-caliber flyweights such as Akhmetov, Moraes, Geje Eustaquio, Eugene Toquero, Stefer Rahardian, Saiful Merican and Gianni Subba, Kingad asserted that his main objective in Asia’s largest MMA organization is to compete for the prestigious ONE Flyweight World Championship belt.
“My goal is to be champion,” he said. “If I win this fight and ONE Championship wants to give me a chance to fight for the title, then I will be ready to do that. If not, then I will be training harder and I will continue to do my best.”
Although Kingad has become a fan-friendly flyweight staple inside the ONE Championship cage, the Team Lakay young gun has a tall order in front of him as he squares off with Hexigetu.
With an inherent ability to strike and grapple coupled with a highly-aggressive style, Hexigetu is a Wushu Sanda practitioner who trains out of China Top Team.
Ever since making his professional debut in 2014, the 32-year-old native of Inner Mongolia holds a 4-2 record, with three of those wins coming by way of submission.
Even though Hexigetu may pose a threat to Kingad’s emergent stature in ONE Championship’s flyweight bracket, the latter leans on the learning from the forthcoming showdown as it can benefit his maturity as a prizefighter.
In anticipation of his big match-up at ONE: CONQUEST OF KINGS on 29 July, Kingad is taking the knowledge he learned from his last bout and applying it to his training camp.
“Kingad trains twice a day, five days a week amongst respected veterans including ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang, former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio Banario, and former bantamweight title challenger Kevin Belingon.
Moreover, he participates in a two-hour morning session with cardio exercise incorporated in the regime and then follows that up with a more extensive three-hour afternoon session. Meanwhile, Saturday mornings are reserved strictly for sparring.
“There’s always a right moment. Every fight is a lesson. We, as fighters, gain valuable knowledge every time we train and step into the cage,” Kingad shared.
“At the moment, my focus is to improve my skills in training. In my last fight, I learned so many lessons. In order to put a great performance on fight night, I have to invest a lot of time in training. I believe it’s paying off for me,” he added.
Kingad remains optimistic that the ONE Flyweight World Championship belt will be fastened around his waist someday.
“I am a fighter who always wishes to give you the best entertainment and the best show you will ever see inside the cage. I just want to savor each moment. That belt will be mine in God’s time,” he ended.