Chen Rui raring to spoil Jeremy Pacatiw’s ONE debut

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EXPERIENCE truly is the best teacher.

And it’s that veteran instinct that “The Ghost” Chen Rui will latch on to when he battles the debuting Jeremy “The Juggernaut” Pacatiw at ONE: BATTLEGROUND on Friday in Singapore.

“I’ve got five fights in ONE Championship already, so of course I’m much more experienced than Jeremy,” he testified. “This is his first time inside the ONE Circle and I, for one, knows that he still needs some time to get used to it.”

Chen understands the hype surrounding Pacatiw, given that this will be the Filipino’s promotional debut.

But the Chinese also knows that fighting in ONE Championship is unlike any other as he battles some of the best fighters the world has to offer.

That’s why Chen hardly bats an eyelash on the losses he recently tasted, knowing the pedigree of the warriors he faced.

And it only fueled him to continue improving his game as he seeks to climb up the ONE Athlete Rankings in the bantamweight division.

“After I lost my last fight, I felt like I needed to start over to get more victories as much as I can,” he said, looking back to his knockout loss to Kwon Won Il at ONE: UNBREAKABLE 2 last January.

“Since I last fought, I believe that I got more powerful in my strength in fighting standing up and that is still my biggest advantage in the bantamweight division. What I’ve learned is that I must work super hard on my skills fighting on the ground. The biggest adjustment I’ve made is to put a lot more training on my body strength. I got hurt in my lower back and around my waist in my last fight and it took me a long time to recover. But now I feel much stronger and I’ve put a lot of work on my wrestling and ground control skills.”

It also made Chen re-assess his pre-fight preparations, knowing that even the minutest of details could impact his success greatly in his fights.

“Though I lost the last time out, it made me think more deeply about myself. I made up my mind that I needed to be well prepared for each fight, even every little, tiny detail need to be well prepared. For example, if my opponent is good at stand-up fighting, I will remind myself not only focus on his standing-up fighting, but training on ground fighting as well,” he said.

And it’s the biggest reason why Chen is looking at Pacatiw as his first step in his dreams of soon being in the hunt for the crown, with reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes still at the top of the food chain.

“I believe that I need to win as many matches as I can, at least a three-fight win streak to get into the ranking list. I want to secure victory this time to get into ONE Championship Athletes Ranking. The two fighters I lost to, Troy Worthen and Kwon Won Il, they both got pretty good spots on the ranking list, so I think if I can get my way back to winning fights, I also deserve a good ranking spot, too.”

Chen isn’t just looking for a win, but also an emphatic finish as he aims to make an example out of Pacatiw.

“I’ll keep my own pace on fighting and push forward to make him feel pressure. I’ll try to control him in my own distance and find my best shot to finish him by my stand-up fighting skills. I think I can finish him by my punch and fist because he’s not a powerful striker. I’ll try to take him to the ground too, to prove everyone that I’ve got huge improvement on my ground control.”

“I plan to finish this fight as soon as I can. I will knock him out when he still finds his way in the ONE Circle.”

Chen and Pacatiw face off in the undercard of a loaded ONE: BATTLEGROUND, which will see Muay Thai legend Sam-A Gaiyanghadao, the first man to hold three different belts in ONE history, defend his ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Championship against a hungry Thai phenom Prajanchai Pk. Saenchai Muaythaigym in the main event.