ONE: Zamboanga siblings hope to keep momentum going
MANILA, Philippines — Siblings Drex and Denice Zamboanga are at different points in their mixed martial arts.
While the younger Denice is undefeated in ONE Championship, her brother Drex is just getting started in the promotion after taking a submission win against Detchadin Srosirisuphathin in his debut.
Both, however, have the same mentality, and that is not settling for what they’ve just achieved.
Drex, who stands at 5-foot-8, would like to move up to bantamweight in the future and get a crack against the top contenders of the division while Denice wants to develop further as she prepares for the Atomweight Grand Prix.
“I’m really excited about the bantamweight division because there’s high-level competition in that weight class with all those athletes there,” said Drex Friday in a Zoom interview. “I feel that the bantamweight division is a bigger challenge and it’ll push me to train to get to another level.”
A fighter who piqued the interest of Drex is No. 1 contender John Lineker, who came off a second round technical knockout win against former champion Kevin Belingon, but the ONE newcomer said that everyone in the division’s top five is a formidable opponent.
“It’s in the bantamweight division that my skills will really be tested,” said Drex, whose walking weight is close to the 145-pound limit. “Every one in the top five, including Lineker, is good at any aspect of the sport. All of them excel at wrestling and they’re also heavy punchers.”
As for Denice, her submission win against Watsyapinya Kaewkhong bumped her record to 5-0 but it’s the future that’s been bothering her lately.
She knows that a title shot against atomweight champion Angela Lee is on the horizon, but she first has to overcome the Grand Prix tournament.
ONE Championship, however, has yet to finalize the tournament combatants and this uncertainty is what Denice is preparing for.
“Actually, I don’t have any word yet on the Grand Prix so I’m just getting ready for whatever happens,” said Denice. “I always focus on my weaknesses because my training right now is different because I don’t know who my opponent is.”
Nevertheless, Denice is amped up every day at the gym after pioneer and icon Miesha Tate expressed her admiration for the Filipina.
“I’m a huge fan of her. I love her tenacity. I feel like I see a little bit of Angela in her when she used to fight, like even myself. I see little bits of that in her. She’s her own woman and her own fighter. She has that something special as well, and I really think she’s going to go places,” said Tate.
Denice said that reaping such praise from the former UFC champion is overwhelming and she’s aware of the added pressure that comes with such admiration.
“I think there’s pressure but I’m really happy because that’s Miesha Tate,” said Denice. “She’s a legend in MMA, and now I have to prove that she’s right.”
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