Filipino star Danny “The King” Kingad’s journey in ONE Championship has been a story of constant improvement.
The young star was handed a shot at the ONE Flyweight World Title early in his career and, while that tilt at the title ultimately fell short, “The King” has bounced back brilliantly since, showing real improvement and evolution in his game as he has looked to progress and develop as a martial artist.
The 22-year-old Team Lakay star defeated Chinese National Wrestling Champion Ma Hao Bin via unanimous decision in an impressive display that highlighted the young contender’s significant improvement in his all-around mixed martial arts skill set.
A seasoned wushu striker, Kingad’s win over Ma allowed him to show the world his vastly evolved wrestling and grappling skills as he picked up a hard-earned victory over a fellow highly-rated young contender.
“It felt really good to get that win against a talented grappler like Ma Hao Bin,” he explains.
“I really wanted to test my skills, and prove to myself that I can continue improving as a grappler.
“This is the primary focus of my game right now. I know how important grappling is to my career. The more confident I become on the ground, the more success I will have with my striking.”
Kingad’s victory over Ma means he is now back on a winning run, and he admits he is feeling good about his form as he looks ahead to his next challenge.
“I am riding high on confidence right now, and I feel incredibly strong and capable,” he says.
“I am excited for my next bout to show fans that I can do even more.”
Kingad has already earmarked a preferred opponent for his next matchup – former World Champion Kairat Akhmetov, who would once again offer a stern test of the Filipino’s all-around MMA game.
“I know Kairat really wants to have another crack at Geje (Eustaquio, Kingad’s Team Lakay teammate and reigning ONE Flyweight Champion), and he is really pushing for that rematch, but why not deal with me first?” he offers.
“I am ready, and I think I can give him a good fight.
“We are constantly training to improve my skills, and I believe a bout between me and Kairat would not only be exciting, it would also be evenly-matched.”
Usually, an athlete’s ultimate aim is to win World Championship gold, but for Kingad things are a little different, because one of his best friends is the champion of his division.
“I am so happy for Geje. He is like a big brother to me. I am extremely proud to see him reach his dreams,” Kingad explains.
“Although we compete in the same weight class, my bond and friendship with him are greater than any World Title. I will gladly take on any challenger who wants to face him, now as a gatekeeper to the flyweight World Title.
“One day, my time will come. I will be champion, but right now, I have no problem laying back and enjoying my brother’s time as the best flyweight in the world.
“His victories are my victories. At Team Lakay, we learn from each other through our shared experiences. It is one of the best things about our little family.”
Kingad says he knows his opportunity will arise in good time, but while his friend holds the belt, he is happy to play the role of wingman and turn back prospective challengers, all while building his own record and developing his own skills.
And when his chance does come, he knows he will be ready.