ONE: Despite last-minute opponent change, Danny Kingad ready for anything
Regardless of who is opponent is, Danny Kingad (5-1) promises to bring the same grit when he returns to the cage on ONE: Visions of Victory at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on March 9.
Originally slated to face Gianni Subba, the 22-year-old Team Lakay fighter was left with two weeks to prepare for his new foe Sotir Kichukov (9-2) after the former was called up to battle Reece McLaren following the pullout of ONE Flyweight Champion Adriano Moraes.
“It happened a little less than two weeks before the bout, so it was certainly nerve-wracking,” he said. “But I’m happy that (Kichukov) stepped up to take this bout. My preparations for my return to action will not be futile.”
Kingad acknowledges the challenge of changing his gameplan in short notice, but the key for him is his ability to adapt on the fly during the match while also playing it safe inside the cage.
“It’s a different opponent, so there are definitely some things you have to change up. But anything can happen in a bout and that’s always my outlook on it. You go into a match, and you have to adapt inside the cage,” he said.
He continued: “Expect that I will be a better competitor inside the cage. My team has prepared a good strength and conditioning program to level up my cardio. I made sure to sharpen my striking. I also invested time in my ground game.”
A victory for Kingad would allow the Baguio native to get back to title contention after failing to claim the flyweight title last November to Moraes via a first-round submission.
But more than anything, he’s taking that setback as a chance for him to grow as a competitor as he builds himself back up to once again be a worthy challenger for the championship.
“It’s not a defeat. I think of it as a lesson. It has served as an inspiration and a reminder to work hard and push myself to the limit in training,” he said. “The end of my 2017 left a bad taste in my mouth. My desire is to redeem myself and start my 2018 by winning my match against my Bulgarian opponent. I don’t want to sit here and be relaxed. I don’t want him to take my winning moment away from me. My mind is focused on getting that victory.”
“I’m still young, and there are a lot to learn in this sport. I believe great things are ahead of me.”