With the release of the first ONE Championship official athlete rankings, Danny Kingad is now laser-focused on his route to the ONE flyweight world championship.
The Team Lakay superstar, who is the number two-ranked flyweight contender, already had his sights on redemption against his two former foes, but when he saw his standing in his division, it sharpened his resolve to go after them when action inside the Circle gets back underway.
ONE flyweight world champion Adriano Moraes takes his place at the top of the pile, with ONE flyweight world Grand Prix champion Demetrius Johnson as the top contender.
It is no coincidence that they are the men responsible for the two blemishes on Kingad’s phenomenal 14-2 slate, and he made his intentions clear about wanting to square off against Moraes and Johnson again soon.
“They’re the targets. They are the barometers of the division and they handed me both of my losses, so yes, I hope to face them again,” Kingad said.
Kingad first faced Moraes for the ONE flyweight world title in the co-main event of ONE: Legends of the World in Manila in November 2017.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt used his grappling experience to overcome the Baguio City native in his first shot at the gold, but he believes he has evolved a lot since then, and a second battle would be much different.
“I think if I get to face Adriano again, I’ll come more prepared, particularly in my takedown defense and submission defense,” Kingad said.
Kingad was just seven bouts into his professional mixed martial arts career when he took on “Mikinho” for the first time. At 21, he did not have enough experience to combat the Brazilian’s grappling offense.
“I think experience was a big factor in that match because it was just my second year in ONE at that time, and then they gave me a world title shot already,” Kingad said.
“I think if it happens again, I would be showing a lot of new things – things that I wasn’t able to show in that fight. I’ve learned a lot since that match. I have gained experience from facing different opponents with different styles. I’ve continued to improve. The last few years have shown me the value of really working hard during training, focusing on sharpening my skill sets, and assessing my mistakes,” he said.
He was more experienced when he faced Johnson in Tokyo, Japan, in October last year. But despite a good showing against the man many consider as the greatest athlete of all time in mixed martial arts, he ultimately came up short on the judges’ scorecards.
He made it to the final bell against Johnson, which was an achievement in itself, but he realized that it got harder to win against the 12-time flyweight world champion as the match progresses.
That knowledge has influenced his plan of attack if he does get a second shot at the American superstar.
“When we fight again, I really have to go and swing for the fences and look for a finish. The longer the match goes, the harder it is to take him on,” Kingad said. – ONE release