Rolando Gabriel Dy Navarette, the son of former world boxing champion Rolando “The Bad Boy from Dadiangas” Navarette is among the emerging stars of mixed martial arts (MMA) in the Philippines today.
The featherweight fighter Navarette, 23, beat Kyle Reyes in the undercard of PXC 39 on September 14, at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. Known for his superb blend of striking and grappling skills, Navarette is receiving training in muay thai from renowned trainer and MMA champion Raysaldo Biagtan.
His wrestling trainer is Ali Heydarabadi while his Brazillian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) coach is Stephen Kamphuis.
Navarette sits with FIGHT Times and talks about his aspirations as an MMA fighter.
FIGHT Times: How did you start in the martial arts?
Rolando Gabriel Dy Navarette: When I was just a kid, I really like to fight in the street. It was when I turned 19 while I am studying in a college in Davao City that I discovered BJJ through the group Jiu-jitsu de Davao. That started it all.
FT: Your father Rolando Navarette is one of the best boxers the Philippines has ever produced; do you receive fighting tips from your father particularly in the striking aspect of the MMA?
RGDN: I did not grow up in his care. I grew up with my mother. My father never taught me how to fight.
FT: As an MMA fighter, do you consider your self mainly as a striker or a grappler?
RGDN: Before, I consider my self as a striker only. But now, I know my game is evolving. With a world champion BJJ coach, Stephen Kamphuis, who is teaching me my ground game and Iranian wrestling coach, Ali Heydarabadi, who is helping me polish my take downs and takedown defense, plus international muay thai champion Raysaldo Biagtan coaching me in striking, I know and I feel that I am evolving. I am not just a striker I am an MMA fighter and I am well rounded, I am confident on my feet and even on my back.
FT: How do you prepare for a fight? What does a typical training day looks like?
RGDN: I am not just an MMA fighter but also a Legal Studies student at the Lyceum University of the Philippines in Manila.
That’s why I need to manage my training time well. I go to school four times a week. During Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I do muay thai training at the Biagtan Gym. I run seven kilometers first for warm up, after that I do skipping ropes for 15 minutes, then shadow boxing for 20 minutes, then pad work for three five-minute rounds, after that bag work for three five-minute rounds then I do hundreds of kicks then core training, and then I go to school. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I am doing conditioning training in the morning and BJJ or wrestling at night. That’s my usual routine.
FT: You mentioned once that you dream of fighting in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC); how do you intend to fulfill this goal?
RGDN: That’s my dream, to be a UFC fighter, to be a champion, and I will do my best to reach my goal. I will train very hard. I will listen to my coaches and my mentors. Maybe I may fall while trying to reach my goal but I will stand up and try again. I will not stop.