Honorio Banario grabbed opportunity to face Shinya Aoki, takes submission loss in stride
Santino Honasan on Oct 22, 2019 01:28 PM
“Kahit na ganun yung result nung huli kong laban, kinagat ko parin kasi gusto ko lang, kasi baka in the future, hindi na siya maglalaro.” - Honorio Banario on the chance of facing Shinya Aoki (Photo courtesy of ONE Championship)
Honorio “The Rock” Banario’s night at ONE: Century in Tokyo last October 13 ended quite quickly at the hands of Japanese mixed martial arts legend and grappling ace Shinya Aoki.
In a battle of former champions, it was Aoki, a two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion, that got the better of former ONE Featherweight World Champion Banario, choking the Pinoy out with a D’Arce choke in just 54 seconds.
While it was obviously a tough loss for Banario, his third in a row, the Team Lakay lightweight isn’t hanging his head low. In fact, the hard-hitter was in a light mood after the bout.
“Wala akong masasabi sa performance ko, kasi hindi pa ako nakaka-suntok tapos na yung laban,” Banario said before letting out a hearty laugh. “Pero alam ko na yung kakayahan ni Shinya, yung lakas niya alam ko na. Yun yung talagang gusto kong malaman kasi noon, nag-wowonder bakit parang lahat ng nilalaban niya, mabilis. Nung na-feel ko yung lakas niya, okay pala.”
“Yung ano dun is parang mag-uunahan kayo eh, kasi alam niyo naman yung difference namin sa grappling and yung difference namin sa striking, kaya yun, nag-uunahan kami, pero biglang nag-shoot. Susuntok sana ako, biglang nag-shoot kaya nag-depensa muna ako," he added.
While it was nothing short of a clinic from Aoki, the experience of being inside the cage with a legend like Aoki was invaluable for Banario. The native of Mankayan, Benguet tells the story of how he first learned about the great “Tobikan Judan.”
“Kasi noon, nung nagsisimula pa kami, nung natututo pa kami sa Jiu-Jitsu, yung pinapanood namin sa YouTube yung technique niya, tapos parang madali lang niyang ine-execute, flying submissions pa,” Banario shared. “Na-iintriga ka sa ginagawa niya, parang ang daling gawin, so minsan doon kami nakakakuha ng technique.”
Even before ONE Championship became a household name in Asian MMA, Aoki was already making a name for himself and leaving a trail of submission victims in his wake.
From his early days in Japan’s DEEP promotion to becoming a champion in Shooto with a couple of appearances in PRIDE in between, to capturing a championship cementing his status as one of the most lethal grapplers in the world in DREAM, Aoki was tapping guys out, left and right.
When he came to ONE Championship in 2012, Aoki was one of the company’s biggest signings.
It around the same time that Banario became the inaugural ONE Featherweight World Champion, but eventually made his way up to the lightweight division, where Aoki had also begun his reign as the division’s king.
“Tapos nung nakita kong nag-sign siya sa ONE at biglang umakyat ako ng timbang, baka one of these days, makakalaro ko rin siya,” said Banario.
Aoki has long been on Banario’s radar, and when the opportunity to face him came up, it was an easy decision for Banario to make.
“Yun yung naisip ko noon, tapos nung tinanong nila ‘Do you want to fight Aoki in Japan’, tinawagan si Coach, napag-isip-isip ko ng kaunti, baka ito lang yung chance na makakapag-laro kami, so okay,” he added.
Coming off back-to-back losses, Banario was in need of a win, and many would argue that facing Aoki in Japan wasn’t exactly the best way to get back into the win column, but “The Rock” wasn’t about to miss the opportunity of sharing the cage with the Japanese icon.
“Kahit na ganun yung result nung huli kong laban, kinagat ko parin kasi gusto ko lang, kasi baka in the future, hindi na siya maglalaro.”
With the dream match against Aoki in the books, it’s back to the drawing board for Banario, but not before spending time with his newborn baby.
“First na gagawin ko pag-uwi ko, hahawak ako ng bata,” said Banario with a smile. “Pero mag-train pa din ako, kasi may teammates kami na maglalaro sa November, so sa hapon pupunta ako sa gym, sa umaga, mag-aalaga muna ako ng bata.”
Facing another losing streak, Banario says that there’s pretty much nothing to do but move forward from this and get back on track. After all, the Aoki loss was a learning experience, albeit a tough one.
“Life goes on, we need to go forward or we stay behind. Kailangan move forward tayo ulit, balik tayo sa training, tapos alam ko naman kung ano yung dapat na dagdagan ko na training kasi nakita ko na yung level ko kay Aoki. yun naman talaga yung gusto kong makita dun, kung yung level ng grappling ko ay okay.”