If there is a person right now who can give bits of advice to Filipino standout Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan, it is his older brother, ONE Strawweight contender Rene “The Challenger” Catalan.
Robin failed to make it two in a row this year after dropping a first-round knockout loss against hometown hero Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit at ONE: WARRIORS OF LIGHT in Bangkok, Thailand last Friday, 10 May.
The 28-year-old Iloilo City native gave everything and almost snatched a submission win but came out short as Mitsatit stand his ground and deliver the knee to the body which prompted the referee to stop the match.
Founder of the Catalan Fighting System, Rene was quick to offer some words of encouragement to his younger brother who he thinks did great in his last outing
Although the heartbreaking setback might slow down Robin in his quest of climbing the top of the strawweight ladder, Rene believes that it will give his brother an avenue to learn from his mistakes and improve as a mixed martial arts athlete.
“Losing is a part of being an athlete, that’s where we learn, that’s where we improve,” said the elder Catalan.
“I told him to keep on training. I also told him that he was able to face one of the best strikers in the division. Next time he’ll learn to counter and stick to the game plan,” he added.
“For me, he won by getting experience alone.”
The last time the 40-year-old Rene dropped a match was in December 2014 when he also lost to a Thailander from a knee to the body in the first round against former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke at ONE: WARRIORS WAY in Manila.
Since then, Rene collected six-straight impressive victories against top opposition which led him as the possible next challenger to the strawweight crown currently held by his compatriot Joshua “The Passion” Pacio.
According to Rene, there are valuable lessons that can be learned from losing a match in mixed martial arts, which he believes will play a pivotal role in Robin’s growth as a martial artist.
“I know he learned a lot from that loss. He just needs to absorb everything that he learned in the loss,” said Catalan.
“I expect him to be better. I expect him to be the best mixed martial artist he can be.”