Team Lakay’s Danny Kingad may not have experienced a flawless 2019, but it was still a banner year for the Filipino mixed martial arts prodigy.
After opening the year with a brilliant unanimous decision win over Tatsumitsu Wada in January, the 24-year-old earned a spot in the loaded ONE flyweight world grand prix and made the most of his opportunity.
In March, the Team Lakay product defeated Pancrase flyweight world champion Senzo Ikeda in the quarterfinals via unanimous decision and then he squeaked by former ONE world title challenger Reece McLaren in the semifinal round via split decision.
That set the stage for Kingad to face American Demetrius Johnson, who is widely considered one of the greatest pound-for-pound mixed martial artists of all time, in the ONE flyweight world grand prix championship final in October.
Despite not having the veteran expertise and the dazzling resumé of a modern-day legend, the Filipino valiantly went the distance with him. It was a thrilling battle, but the judges awarded the victory to Johnson.
Now, two months removed from that epic contest in the Japanese capital, Kingad speaks about his admiration for Johnson. He also shared lessons he learned from 2019, and even gave previews of what could be in store for 2020.
“The experience was very exciting, and I was really happy because I was given a chance to be a part of it. What made it extra special was that I got all the way to the finals. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take home the top prize,” Kingad said.
“I am very much satisfied with my performance, and I’m really happy to have competed against such talented athletes. Like I said, not everyone can get a chance to compete against an in-his-prime DJ, but I was able to go toe-to-toe against him and push him for three rounds,” Kingad added. – Voltaire Lozada/ONE