Rene Catalan (right) while fighting in ONE FC. Photo courtesy of ONE FC
MANILA, Philippines – Bemedalled Philippine fighter Rene Catalan wants to spark the resurgence of Filipino MMA when he faces Cambodia’s Khim Dima in ONE FC: Total Domination on October 18.
After seeing his fellow Filipinos go 0-5 in ONE FC: Rise to Power last June, Catalan took it to himself to bring the fans’ confidence back to Filipino MMA.
Catalan said his journey will begin in Singapore, where he faces Khmer boxing vet Dima at the flyweight division.
“During the last event, we were shut out and I can't imagine how disappointed the fans must be,” he said. “I'm going to kickstart by uprising Philippine MMA with a victory in the next event in Singapore.”
The Sta. Barbara, Iloilo native used to part of the Philippine national wushu team. He represented the Philippines in the 2005 Manila SEA Games and 2006 Doha Asian Games, where he won gold medals.
After serving his country, he made his transition to MMA and by taking both roles as coach and fighter.
“I have always dedicated myself to martial arts which is my passion. When I am not competing, I am coaching. I have coached for seven years, with stints coaching Wushu Sanda to the Canadian wushu national team as well as the head coach of Fighting Empire gym in Beijing,” said the 34-year-old.
Catalan, who specializes in a wushu discipline called Sanshou, said he continues to develop himself as an all-around fighter.
“[Sanshou is] actually very similar to mixed martial arts in that it has strikes mixed with throws. I think my least experienced aspect will be submissions on the ground,” he explained. “But if you watched my fight earlier this year, I held my own for the most part against a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt -- although I did get caught. I feel like I am so much better than I was then and won't make the same mistake.”