Eighteen-year-old Jhanlo Sangiao is just at the beginning of his young mixed martial arts career.
That is why Jhanlo, the son of Philippine mixed martial arts legend and Team Lakay patriarch Mark Sangiao, made sure to dream as big as possible once he steps into the Circle soon.
“Isa lang naman ‘yung goal ko dito is yung maging world champion. Maging successful din parang yun mga kuya ko na world champions (My biggest goal is to become a world champion and to become as successful as my brothers in Team Lakay who are also world champions),” Sangiao told ONE Championship. “‘Yung isang gusto ko ring ma-achieve is maging isang legend. Hindi lang makilala in the future na ‘pag nag-champion. Hindi lang maging champion but to be a legend (One of the things I also wanted to achieve is to become a legend. I want to be recognized not only as a world champion in the future but also a legend).”
Jhanlo became the youngest Team Lakay fighter to make it into ONE Championship after recently signing a fresh contract with the Singapore-based promotion over the week.
Thanks to his seniors at Team Lakay and coach Mark, Jhanlo managed to hone his skills up to now after spending time growing up engaging in martial arts.
From sparring and practice to watching live events in Manila, Jhanlo’s passion for MMA never went away and just kept on burning.
“Ang swerte ko dahil may mga teammates na world champions. Sila yung motivation ko, nagpu-push sa akin o mga partner ko sa pagte-training (I’m fortunate enough to have teammates who are also world champions by my side. They are my motivation, they push me to my limits, and they are also my training partners),” added the 18-year-old Sangiao.
Jhanlo is reportedly planning to compete in the bantamweight division, which is currently led by Brazilian champion Bibiano Fernandes.
He is set to join his senior Kevin Belingon (No. 2), John Lineker (No. 1), Yusup Saadulaev (No. 3), Fabricio Andrade (No. 4), and Shoko Sato (No. 5).
Though there is evident pressure here and there, Jhanlo said he is more than ready for his debut at the big stage.
“Kayang kaya (I can do this very well),” said Jhanlo, who owns a 3-0 record. “Yun nanan ang pinag-training ko sa buong buhay ko. Kaya para saan pa yung training (This is what I’ve trained for my whole life. It would be a waste if I can’t keep up, right)?”