Supernova-like has been the rise of Team Lakay firecracker Lito "Thunder Kid" Adiwang that it felt just right to see his name finally re-enter the official athlete rankings in ONE Championship.
After having been ranked at No. 5 at strawweight in the past, a loss to Japan’s Hiroba Minowa forced Adiwang out of the top five, and the Filipino had to battle his way back to relevance.
Following a thunderous second-round knockout victory over Namiki Kawahara and an impressive unanimous decision triumph over "Wolf of the Grasslands" Hexigetu, Adiwang now finds himself among the strawweight elite once again.
And Adiwang isn't ready to stop his rise.
Looking ahead to his monumental main event clash, Adiwang is all good to square off against Jarred "The Monkey God" Brooks at ONE: NEXTGEN III, a previously recorded event from the Singapore Indoor Stadium set for broadcast via tape delay on 26 November.
It's the break the ONE Super Series contract winner has long been waiting for, getting his name in a prime position against a newcomer who has positioned himself as one of the most dangerous new signees in the promotion.
But Adiwang isn’t not letting himself become overwhelmed by the golden opportunities thrown his way, as he maintains the same approach for this next fight.
That's why for Adiwang, it's only imperative for him to re-assess his game and further fine tune his skill set, especially after his last match against a veteran in Hexigetu.
"I have learned that I must not hesitate on my attacks and not to play too much in the fight. I have to be more serious and more focused on finishing my opponent," Adiwang said.
"I'm content with my performance, but I also understand that I will always have room for improvement. That's what I am thinking of, that every time I step outside of that ONE Circle, I have to be content with my performance knowing that I gave everything I could in that fight."
The Baguio-based fighter has done exactly that, continuing to develop his strengths and weaknesses as he gets a long-awaited crack at Brooks.
Originally, the two were set to face off last April, until Adiwang tested positive for COVID-19 and forced Brooks' promotional debut to be further delayed.
Seven months later and Adiwang is coming into this match as a better fighter, saying, "I think I've really improved since that first announcement of this fight against Brooks. I'm more pumped and a more confident version of the Thunder Kid."
With Adiwang already among the top five strawweight contenders in ONE, all he wants is to show that he's there for good and deny “The Monkey God” the celebratory arrival he aspires to have.
"Brooks considers himself as the no. 1 in this division. To be fair, I think I've also fought a lot of high-caliber opponents in the strawweight division who may not be in the top five. So for me, defeating him should keep me in the top five," Adiwang said.
Aside from the highly anticipated Adiwang-Brooks faceoff, ONE: NEXTGEN III will also see a hard-hitting Muay Thai duel between Pongsiri P.K.Saenchai Muaythaigym of Thailand and Alaverdi Ramazanov of Russia.