Lito Adiwang talks training at Team Lakay, dream match with Demetrious Johnson
Santino Honasan on May 22, 2020 04:41 PM
“Demetrious Johnson is the best in the world right now, in my opinion. And I’ve dreamed of facing him since I started my career. Before, that was just an impossible dream. But now that he’s with ONE Championship, it’s closer to reality.” - Lito Adiwang (Photo: Richard Esguerra)
Team Lakay strawweight Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang has been on fire since coming up to the main roster of ONE Championship.
Adiwang, who earned a ONE contract after three wins on Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series, scored back-to-back submission wins on the big show, first against Japanese contender Senzo Ikeda and then against Thai star Pongsiri Mitsatit.
Adiwang’s immediate success however, should not come as a surprise, considering that he’s got some really good teammates around him over at the La Trinidad-based gym.
On a daily basis (at least before the COVID-19 pandemic), Adiwang sharpened his tools alongside world champions like Eduard Folayang, Geje Eustaquio, Kevin Belingon, Honorio Banario, Stephen Loman, and of course, reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio.
Being around all those winners, Adiwang admits that training can sometimes get a bit intense, which is expected since everyone is working towards a common goal and everyone is looking to push each other.
“Training at Team Lakay is intense. I’m very fortunate to be working with a great group of guys who are not just talented and highly-skilled, but also close like family,” Adiwang shared in an interview with ONE Championship. “There are instances when we are really deep in training, and we let loose and forget to hold back. There’s the occasional heavy shot we land here and there, or sometimes we put each other in some painful submissions.”
“But we’re all professionals, and we know it’s part of the game. We just say sorry and continue with no hard feelings. After all, we’re like brothers here,” he continued.
Adiwang is just two fights into his ONE Championship career, but by the looks of it, he’s primed for an upward trajectory.
In the same light, his teammate Pacio, who has handily defeated some of the division’s top contenders and former champions, also appears to be at the top of the heap for a while.
It appears as though their paths could inevitably cross.
“My personal goal is to be known as one of the best fighters in the division. Of course, I want to eventually compete for a World Title. It’s every athlete’s dream to become a World Champion,” Adiwang stated.
As has been the case with former Team Lakay champions and their teammates in the same division however, Adiwang would rather not fight his family.
“While it will ultimately depend on ONE Championship, I still prefer not to face Joshua Pacio as much as possible. I want to avoid that. Instead, I want the top guys in the division,” Adiwang expressed.
Fortunately for the 27-year old, the strawweight division presents a number of possibilities for him to raise his stock.
“Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke, Yoshitaka Naito, Alex Silva, Yosuke Saruta -- these are all great matchups for me and challenges I’m willing to face. I just want to face the best and prove myself. My plan is to keep taking on anyone they put in front of me and beat them. I’ll take any fight, no matter how short the notice. I’m always ready, always training, and always ready for action,” he continued.
If Pacio’s reign at the top of the strawweight division continues, Adiwang says he’s open to jumping up to the flyweight division to test himself there.
“If Joshua still has the belt in the next couple of years, I have no issues moving up to flyweight to take on challenges there. There’s a lot of great talent in that division that I wouldn’t mind testing myself against. But we’ll cross the bridge when we get there.”
A move to flyweight will move Adiwang a step closer to a potential matchup with ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix champion and MMA legend Demetrious Johnson, a bout that he’s longed for.
“That would be a dream come true for me,” Adiwang said. “Demetrious Johnson is the best in the world right now, in my opinion. And I’ve dreamed of facing him since I started my career. Before, that was just an impossible dream. But now that he’s with ONE Championship, it’s closer to reality.”