After a week in Manila to corner my brother Christian for his #ONEChampionship fight, I’m back in Hawaii to start my training camp for my next title defense. I’m fighting Istela Nunes de Souza on May 26 in Singapore.
Manila was great and I love watching Christian fight; it’s always great when we’re together as a family to have that kind of support, and now it’s my turn to step up to the plate and perform even better.
Fighting in Singapore, where my dad is from, where I won the title in 2016, and where I train at Evolve MMA, definitely adds a completely different aspect to fighting. When I’m on so-called home ground, the pressure’s definitely there. A lot of my family members are gonna be coming out to support me come fight night, but I perform even better under pressure. I’m gonna use all that energy, and I’m very, very excited to defend my title.
I’ve already done some research on Istela. She’s a Muay Thai world champion, and a dangerous striker. But I’m not gonna disregard the wrestling or the jiu-jitsu aspect; in MMA, everyone is looking to improve and become better and sharpen their skill set. So I know that she’s training hard, but I’m training harder, and there’s nothing she can bring on May 26th that’s gonna take me out of my zone.
As a martial artist, my goal has always been to never stop improving, and each day I’m training harder and harder. That’s what’s gonna keep me on top, so I can not be complacent.
One aspect where I’m always confident is my grappling. I think that my grappling style is different than any of the other fighters out there because of how Christian and I train with our dad, who’s our head coach.
He’s the all-in-one: he’s coach, he’s dad, he’s a mentor, everything; and he’s helped us develop a style of grappling that is specifically geared towards MMA. It’s not jiu-jitsu based, and growing up we trained a lot of no-gi -- not so much in the gi -- so the way me move and the pace that we bring is completely different, as well as the submissions you see us finishing with.
That’s what makes us stand out as fighters, and that’s why we’re very exciting to watch.
We’ll be training in Hawaii for the next few weeks, and then it’s off to Singapore to finish my camp at Evolve MMA. Stay tuned for more blogs leading up to my fight.