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Looking for career renaissance, ‘The Rock’ rolls back to old division

Honorio "The Rock" Banario has hit a wall in the lightweight division – and he is the first person to admit it. But that does not mean he is giving up his ambitions as a professional mixed martial artist. It just means he is shifting weigh classes. 

Banario will return to the featherweight division where he first carved his name in The Home Of Martial Arts. Welcoming him back in the division after five long years is Shannon "Oneshin" Wiratchai, and they are set to clash in the prime card of ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE on 28 February at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

“When I moved to lightweight, it started positively – I started a win streak, but soon I was feeling sluggish. I tired out easily, maybe because I’m at a heavier division,” Banario said. 

“So coach Mark [Sangiao] and I talked about moving back down to featherweight to test my physical strength. With a good performance, I’ll stay there.”

The problem for Banario is not really the loaded competition in the division - though he has certainly struggled against the top dogs of the weight class. 

For the 30-year-old, he felt like he lacked discipline and was a bit complacent with his eating habits since he felt comfortable in just maintaining his weight. 

That turned out to be his demise. 

“In the lightweight division, I was a bit relaxed with my weight because I just had to maintain it. Sometimes I forgot about diet, but now it’s so much better because I am disciplined with what I eat and I know the value of being disciplined. Now I am back to [having a] strict diet and training,” Banario said. 

“I think I’m kind of small in the lightweight division as well. But I can’t explain it, I feel heavy, yet I am small. In featherweight, I feel like I’m in the right size, weight, and strength.”

Like Banario, his opponent, Wiratchai, is also looking for greener pastures in the division after losing three straight at lightweight. But despite the Thai’s struggles, the Mankayan, Benguet native is not about to take his struggling foe lightly. 

“It is going to be a good scrap because he’s also coming off consecutive losses and I know he wants to win,” Banario said. 

“Like him, I’m also coming off losses, so this is going to be a good fight. I expect it to be a striking battle, and I don’t expect the match to go the decision.”Meanwhile, five of Banario’s teammates in Team Lakay are set to face the world at ONE: FIRE & FURY on 31 January at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines. 

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Topics: Honorio "The Rock" Banario , The Home Of Martial Arts , Shannon "Oneshin" Wiratchai
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