Ana Julaton at ONE FC 19: “My goal is to become the first ever Filipina MMA ONE FC Champion”

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Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton is set to make her second mixed martial arts appearance in Dubai on August 29, 2014 at One FC 19 against Malaysia’s Ann Osman.

 

Julaton is no stranger in the fight business as she was the first-ever Filipina to win the WBO and IBA Super Bantamweight Titles and is recognized for her fantastic punching power and speed inside the ring.

The 34-year-old boxing superstar is currently the most accomplished female boxer to ever compete in the Singapore-based MMA promotion as she has an extensive list of her boxing achievements that no fighter currently signed in One FC has ever achieved as a female prize-fighter.

Many of you might not know this but boxing isn’t the first love of the Filipina boxing champion. She was first hooked on Kenpo Karate, then went on to train boxing after some time and is also a taekwondo black belt.

So transitioning from boxing to MMA was quite uncomplicated for the heavy-handed Julaton as she already knew how to throw kicks from her early days of learning karate and taekwondo. The only thing that gives her a challenge in preparing to fight under MMA rules is jiu jitsu and wrestling. But she admits that she is getting used to honing her ground game to become a much complete MMA fighter.

Julaton made her MMA debut last May in the Philippines against Aya Saeid Saber at One FC 15.

Julaton showed no first-time jitters at all when she displayed a dominant performance against her Egyptian counterpart. She defeated Saber in the third round via TKO at 4:01 mark.

The Filipina boxing sensation certainly has the potential to become an MMA superstar in the coming years and the potential to be title holder. But first, she needs to pile up some impressive wins to get to the top of the One FC women’s flyweight division.

“The Hurricane” is all set to return inside the One FC cage tonight in Dubai as she faces Malaysia’s best female MMA prospect Ann Osman.

Check out our exclusive interview with Ana Julaton literally hours before her scheduled showdown with Osman.

 

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MMA-in-Asia: First of all, can you talk us through your decision on making a transition from boxing to MMA? Is this for good or are you still going to compete in boxing in the future?

Julaton: My first passion was the martial arts and I was introduced to boxing by my Kenpo Karate teacher. The parallels of the martial arts and boxing intrigued me and I began cross-training between the two. Studying boxing is unique because in the beginning of my training, I was still used to throwing kicks, elbows, knees, using grabs/holds, etc. and felt that boxing was limited. After I won my first boxing world title, I committed myself to the sport full-time and had to “empty my cup”. I had the chance to work with Freddie Roach, watch boxing greats like Manny Pacquiao train, and fully versed myself in the art of pugilism. I learned about the other “styles” of boxing, which takes skills and patience to obtain because a boxer must be effective with his/her left and right hands, footwork, and head movement.

ONE FC gave me an incredible opportunity to fight MMA exclusively with them AND have the flexibility to pursue boxing. As a fighter, I just want to fight and be shown on the biggest stage. ONE FC has 1 Billion viewership all over Asia with 90% market share so it was an offer I didn’t want to pass up. Since I have a background in the martial arts (I’ve been practicing for over 20 years), I created goals in boxing and in MMA, where I can challenge myself to the fullest as a fighter.

No, I’m not ready to leave boxing. My boxing promoter, Allan Tremblay, has been battling cancer and is at the tail end of beating it – woohoo!  He’s such a warrior that he has also been overlooking my boxing schedule. Currently, he’s in talks with Bob Arum and are working something out on that end, so be on the lookout!

In the meantime, I’m happy with my MMA schedule. I remember after my first pro boxing fight, Freddie Roach preached that activity is always good for fighters. I believe in that too because a live fight is much different from practice. My team and I have been working on more material while I continue honing my boxing skills. In my mind, I’m preparing myself for either sport to provide an opportunity to fight.

MMA-in-Asia: How are the adjustments so far in terms of training? Is MMA training harder than boxing?

Julaton: I’ve studied Tae Kwon Do for about 10 years and achieved my black belt. I have competed at national and international competitions, have won the Jr. Olympics, and traveled to South Korea to learn from some of the best in the sport. I also studied Kenpo Karate and reached Shodan. I’ve dabbled with the concepts of Wing Chun with my Dad since I was a kid and have been around the martial arts world all my life.

Bruce Lee was quoted, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 time.”  That is so true in boxing for a boxer can find success with a superior jab. In MMA, I consistently work on positioning, timing points, etc. things that I’ve learned in boxing and applied it to my MMA techniques – and of course I like to keep my range of weaponry in the cage subtle and in secrecy.

MMA-in-Asia: You looked sharp in your MMA debut at One FC 15 in Manila against Aya Saeid Saber. Can you talk us through that fight?

Julaton: Fighting in Manila was magical. It was a long time coming and I appreciated the camaraderie with my fellow Filipino fighters and with the local support. I felt like the arena was fighting with me that night. I expect to be back there again later this year for ONE FC.

Gaining fight experience is always an advantage in combat sports. Being able to add more arsenals to my boxing and martial arts experience in a professional setting sets the tone in my ability and game plan. Although I only have one MMA fight under my belt, spending over a decade in boxing and fighting at a world-class level inspires me to try new things in MMA and make it my own. My approach in MMA will be different from what some may expect.

Manila was truly a welcoming experience and a couple of months after, I’m still digesting over the thought of winning my MMA debut in the Philippines. I have had dreams of fighting there and for everything to happen the way it did, I would take none of it back! Even when I was in the guillotine choke hold. The arena was electrifying and to hear the support from everyone there, at that very moment, there was no way I was going to let anyone down! I remembered getting so pumped up that when I broke free of the choke hold, I wanted to just slam my opponent, which I eventually did three times in a row that round. It was surreal!

 

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MMA-in-Asia: You are set to face Malaysia’s Ann Osman next. What are your thoughts about her?

Julaton: As I fighter, I have to always be confident. I know my abilities and I’ve experienced fight sports at a world-class level. That in itself is an unparalleled advantage. I continue to just focus on me. All I know is that ONE FC will continue to test my skills as a fighter and see what level I’m at.  I look forward to all challenges that I may face and prove my worth.

Ann Osman is game and will show up at her best. I originally had a different opponent and when that fell through, she jumped at the opportunity to fight me. I look forward to this match and it will be an explosive bout for fight fans. Overall, I can’t wait to put my skills in the cage!

MMA-in-Asia: Can you tell us a bit about your preparations for this fight? What are the adjustments that you’ve made to make sure you’ll be 110% ready?

Julaton: It has been said that “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Superior technique, experience, and raw fight ability tend to edge a win in the arena. When I joined ONE FC, I knew everyone who faces me will target me and will train their best because they have never fought anyone like me. That was the same type of environment I faced in professional boxing. So I prepare on me and what I will do in a fight.

Training camp was in Las Vegas training with my team Head Trainer Angelo Reyes, MMA Coach Chris Ben Tchavtsavadse and my entire MMA family. Chris, who is the Official Strength Conditioning Coach of Team Mayweather and I’m at Mayweather gym for this camp every once in a while, but I’m strictly working on specifics in a private setting.

I’m just living the moment and focusing on my game and abilities to be ready for anyone in the cage. My goal is to become the first ever Filipina MMA ONE FC Champion so I will continue to focus on what I have to do and not so much a particular opponent. You already know this about me, I will fight anyone, anywhere, anytime who wants to sign a contract to step in the ring or the cage with me!

MMA-in-Asia: How’s the experience so far in doing wrestling and BJJ drills?

Julaton: Obviously I’m working on my skills on the ground and I’ve been having a blast. Most think that striking and grappling are different. They are different physically, but the concepts are the same. I’ve always told people whether you box or train in martial arts, fighting is fighting. It’s a mentality. So when I cover wrestling or jiu jitsu, I find a lot of the concepts similar to the martial arts and boxing and there’s a thread that creates and connects the different arts. So I’ve been having a blast and can’t wait to put it all together.

MMA-in-Asia: There will be a ton of Filipinos in Dubai for sure and they will cheer your name on. How important is it for you personally to have that solid support from Filipino communities around the globe? Does it motivate you more to perform well in a fight?

Julaton: I’m excited be here in Dubai. This event for ONE FC will be its biggest one thus far and will make an incredible effort to reach out to the Filipino community. Every country I’ve traveled to, I always run into a kababayan and I love knowing that there is a huge Filipino community there! I want to represent all global Filipinos and with the stage ONE FC provides I am happy to know I can connect with all my people throughout the world.

Loren Mack, Head of PR for ONE FC, has been phenomenal in making sure I get a chance to see our Filipino community out here in the UAE. ONE FC is a world-class organization and has the biggest outreach for MMA in all of Asia. I’m so excited to get a chance to see all my supporters in Dubai tonight at the arena!!

I’m dedicating this fight to all my “kababayan” (country men/women), my boxing promoter, Allan Tremblay, who’s been battling cancer and is getting the better end of his fight. What Allan’s been able to accomplish over the years is unbelievable and I’m happy to have him be a part of my life. I’ve been through a lot over the years in the fight industry and Allan Tremblay & Camp; Angelo Reyes has always had my back. It’s not easy being a woman fighter and here we are, still following our passion.

Most of all I’d like all my supporters throughout the World know when I step in the cage, I carry you with. Thank you for being there for me through the ups and downs. Together we rise!

MMA-in-Asia: You’ve been competing for quite some time now, especially in boxing. What keeps you to stay motivated these days?

Julaton: I still look forward to boxing. Though I will admit, It is daunting to not have the opportunities to fight World Champs like Jackie Nava of Mexico and Marcela Acuna of Argentina – the best and most popular female fighters in my division of 122 pounds – on a stage deserving of those type of fights. Certainly you can see why MMA through organizations like ONE FC is the fastest growing sport in the world.

MMA recognizes all the best fighters in the world and gender has not been an issue. In fact, women’s MMA globally have rivaled the men’s side in popularity the same way tennis has and that is a great thing for our sport. Innovators like Victor Cui understand the “business” of combat sports.

By next year, don’t be surprised if ONE FC becomes #1 in TV ratings as a sporting event in all of ASIA! I am thankful to Victor for continuing to support our passion as martial artists. Like in all my boxing matches, I always promise excitement in the ONE FC cage every time I fight!

What keeps me motivated is to know I am a part of a GREAT FAMILY in combat sports! I am grateful to Allan Tremblay and Victor Cui in supporting my goal of continuing to become the very best two-sport combat athlete in the world.

MMA-in-Asia: What are your thoughts on fighting under the One FC banner?

Julaton: There are so many wonderful things I can say about ONE FC from TOP to bottom. Victor Cui and the entire ONE FC Family is an amazing experience to be a part of. Truly first clas!

Also, in my opinion, ONE FC is a true fighting organization. It follows the “authentic rules,” which allows soccer kicks against a downed opponent, 12-to-6 elbow strikes, and leg strikes on the ground. This rule set is intense. I have an extensive contract with them and I look forward to putting on exciting fights for our MMA audience for years to come. It’s exciting to know that every time I step in the ONE FC Cage there are one billion people watching in over 70 countries.

MMA-in-Asia: What are your plans for the next three years in MMA?

Julaton: At the end of my fight in Manila, Jason Chambers asked me if I would make MMA “full time” and I told him, the 20,000 people at the Mall of Asia Arena and the one billion viewers through the world that I wouldn’t be surprised if I take the leap into MMA full time! I love the martial arts and ONE FC is the ultimate stage to showcase how great of an overall fighter you are!

MMA-in-Asia: What can One FC fans expect from Ana Julaton on August 29th against Ann Osman?

Julaton: I plan on putting on my best, showcasing my skills, and bringing something “new” in the cage. My last fight was exciting as it was a toe-to-toe battle: I fought out of submission attempts, attacked with body slams, knees, and elbows. For this fight, I expect to bring the same kind of excitement.

Julaton wants her fans to follow her on social media: Twitter@AnaJulaton, Instagram@AnaJulaton, Facebook.com/AnaJulatonOfficial.