Drex Zamboanga vows to keep improving after ONE debut win

By Jun Ray Navarres

Never settle for less

In spite winning his debut in ONE Championship, Drex “T-Rex” Zamboanga is not satisfied with his performance and will make key adjustments to training for his next bout in the Circle.

The 31-year old former Philippine mixed martial arts world champion is off to a rocket-start in his ONE Championship career after scoring a hard-earned submission victory over Thailand’s Detchadin Sornsirisuphathin at ONE: A NEW BREED, last August 28.

“T-Rex” realized that the Thai fighter was able to handle his solid strikes in the first round which made him switch the match to the ground. He made a quick finish of Detchadin in the final seconds of the second round with a rear-naked choke.

“I didn’t expect him to be so strong and durable. I switched things up and wanted to test his grappling, which is why I was able to get the submission,” said Zamboanga.

“I was surprised he gave up the back so easily. The rear naked choke was there and I took it. Once the choke was in deep, I knew I had it.”

Despite of the performance, Drex highlighted the difficulties in training camp ─ lack of an established training facility, and the required sparring partners which he admitted made him sluggish in the biggest fight of his career.

“Having a good place to train is so important in MMA. We just train where we can here in Bangkok. I think I had a little too much ice cream before the fight. I felt so heavy and slow,” said Zamboanga.

“The situation was difficult but we made some adjustments and the three of us [Denice, his sister and Fritz Biagtan, a friend and training partner] just found ways to train whenever and wherever we could. Somehow, we were able to condition ourselves well enough to give a good performance. It wasn’t easy.”

For his next ONE outing to flow more smoothly, “T-Rex” has many changes to make in his training.

“There were a lot of things I wasn’t happy in my performance. My guard was way too low, and I didn’t have that head movement. I was also a little flatfooted in there. I have to make adjustments to my diet too, and not have so much ice cream and cheat days,” exclaimed Zamboanga.

Zamboanga, even with his experiences from competing for a local mixed martial arts promotion pointed out the difficulties in adjusting to ONE’s unique weight and hydration system.

”Adjusting to the weight and hydration system of ONE Championship, it was totally different from what I was used to in my career, in a good way,” said Zamboanga. 

“The first few weeks of camp were a bit rocky because I was still trying to figure things out. The last week was when I was able to piece it all together and it got easier from there.”

Regardless of all these, Drex is still happy with his win and the environment and treatment in ONE Championship.

“I’m so happy I was able to get the win. Getting the opportunity to compete, especially in these times, is a blessing. I’m lucky I can continue to do what I love to do, training and competing. ONE Championship is such a different environment from my previous experiences. They treat their fighters well,” Zamboanga said excitedly.

Drex, Denice and Fritz currently remain training in Bangkok while they are still unable to return to Manila due to border restrictions because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @burnsports

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