Filipino-Australian bantamweight fighter Reece McLaren draws inspiration from ONE lightweight world champion Eduard Folayang when he challenges Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes in ONE: Age of Domination on December 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“I saw the Eduard [Folayang] fight and I drew a lot of inspiration from it. Another fellow Filipino winning a world title shows that it can be done,” said the 25-year-old McLaren in a statement sent to The Manila Times.
“Watching the fight was super exciting. I was on the edge of my seat. It was such a massive opportunity for him and to see him walk away with the victory was just so emotional,” he added.
McLaren, who holds a record of nine wins and three losses, will face reigning ONE bantamweight world champion Fernandes in the co-main event.
Fernandes is currently on an 11-fight winning streak and entering his fifth title defense.
McLaren is the underdog compared to the seasoned fighter Fernandes.
But McLaren is not bothered.
“Being labeled the favorite or the underdog doesn’t really matter to me. I’m going to put a hundred percent into the work and hope it shows.
”I find no difference between being the favorite or the underdog. Everyone loves the underdog story and they love it when he wins, so give me that label and I’ll run with it,” McLaren said.
McLaren made his debut in ONE championship with an upset victory over Mark Striegl followed by another upset win against Muin Gafurov of Tajikistan.
McLaren is confident that he can duplicate the feat in his upcoming bout.
“Bibiano [Fernandes], it is such an honor to be facing you. I respect you a lot, but this is going to be a changing of the guard,” McLaren ended.