Winning six of his last seven contests, former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario is slowly inching closer to the top of the lightweight division.
Banario is just one of the big names in the upcoming ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix, and the soft-spoken wushu practitioner is excited to be a part of history.
“I plan to show that I am one of the best lightweights in the promotion. There is a lot of buzz surrounding our division because of the tournament,” he stated.
“And because of the new crop of athletes who joined ONE, there is a lot of pressure to perform.”
Banario is slated to face the returning Lowen Tynanes in the opening round of the tournament at ONE: HERO’S ASCENT, which takes place at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on 25 January.
“It’s a big challenge for me to get in the cage with him. My team was surprised when we found out that he will be my first opponent for the ONE Lightweight Grand Prix,” he shared.
“But we have a lot of time for training so we came up with a game plan to beat him.”
Hailing from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, Tynanes is an undefeated lightweight competitor who holds an unblemished record of 9-0 with four wins by submission and two by knockout.
Using an aggressive striking approach and wrestling techniques to subdue his opponents inside the cage, Tynanes has defeated some of the biggest names in the Asian mixed martial arts scene, including Banario’s teammate Eduard “Landslide” Folayang.
Tynanes may have not competed in the cage for two years, but Banario knows that the 28-year-old American remains as dangerous as ever.
“I have huge respect for him as a mixed martial artist. This will be a good fight because this will test if I have really improved my wrestling,” he said of the encounter with Tynanes.
“Lowen Tynanes is something else, he has good wrestling and a high-level athlete. He’s a very well-rounded martial artist.”
After going through a rough five-match a couple of years ago, “The Rock” is certainly back on his feet, having won six of his last seven contests in ONE Championship.
However, Banario knows that his redemption lies in the end of this lightweight tournament as it would signal his return to the heap of the division alongside his stablemate Folayang.
“It is a great way to really see who is the best in the division, apart from my brother Eduard Folayang, who is the world champion,” he stressed.
“I am definitely aiming to be the Grand Prix tournament champion. That’s my number one goal in 2019.”