IN a typical Filipino household, parents encourage their children to exert effort in their studies to have good grades on their report cards in order to eventually have a bright future.
When parents talk of a “bright future,” they refer to white-collared professions like donning a white medical gown with a stethoscope in hand, wearing a business suit in a corporate setting, or holding a blueprint on a high-rise site with a hard hat.
The story mood takes a dismally sharp turn when a child opts to instead wear four-ounce gloves to compete in three to five-round bouts for cold cash.
Homegrown Filipino talent Danny “The King” Kingad is bent on breaking the stereotype to prove that not all professional competitors fit into this erroneous category.
Team Lakay’s Kingad, who takes up a bachelor’s degree in education at the University of the Cordilleras, has pursued his dream to be a mixed martial arts athlete while diligently working on his homework to get a college diploma.
Similar to a comic-book superhero with two different lives, Kingad wears his school uniform in the morning with his books. Meanwhile, he puts on his training clothes to hit some punch mitts and kick pads in the afternoon.
Kingad admitted that it is not easy balancing his time between mixed martial arts and his studies, but he is prepared to do what it takes for his passion.
“I am still studying, but I learned how to manage my time with the help of my coaches and senior teammates,” he stated. “I love this sport. I love to compete because this is my passion.”
Kingad is still a second-year Physical Education major as he had to minimize his units per semester to properly manage his professional career and his studies.
At age 22, Kingad has reaped dividends from his sacrifice as his name is starting to get recognized in the world of mixed martial arts.
A true warrior from the mountains of the Philippines and one of the top prospects to come out of Baguio City with an immaculate record of 5-0, Kingad is a tremendous striker who possesses well-rounded grappling skills.
Due to his outstanding run in local promotions, ONE Championship noticed Kingad and gave him a spot on the undercard of ONE: GLOBAL RIVALS in Manila in April 2016.
Kingad came out on top of his maiden ONE Championship assignment by scoring a first-round technical knockout of Malaysia’s Muhamad Haidar.
The young Baguio City native had an impressive follow-up to his ONE Championship debut by submitting compatriot Eugene Toquero with a first-round armbar in December 2016.
In his most recent trip to the ONE Championship cage, Kingad turned in a complete performance, putting his wide range of techniques on full display in a unanimous decision conquest of Malaysia’s Muhammad Aiman this past April.
With Kingad becoming a highly-touted standout in the Asian region due to his remarkable winning streak, Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao believes that he could be the next big thing in the sport, following the footsteps of his senior colleague Eduard Folayang, who is widely regarded as the face of the Philippine mixed martial arts scene and currently reigns as the ONE Lightweight World Champion.
“There’s no pressure on my part. To me, it’s a privilege to hear that from Coach Mark. I believe in what he said because I train with the best,” said Kingad as a response to Sangiao’s remark.
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