Geje Eustaquio and Adriano Moraes are about to create ONE Championship history.
Eustaquio and Moraes will meet in the main event of ONE Hero’s Ascent in Manila, Philippines, and the winner will come out on top in the first-ever trilogy in the promotion.
For Eustaquio, the 29-year-old who trains out of Team Lakay in Baguio City, Philippines, it’s also his first opportunity to defend the belt he won from Moraes in June last year. His split decision victory moved each fighter to one win apiece after Moraes previously topped Eustaquio in late 2014.
That last fight was a closely contested battle that fans and pundits held different opinions.
“I landed the cleaner shots. He took me down and got control, but I did the damage. This is ONE Championship, where we consider the damage and the near KO. Based on the criteria of winning, I believe I was ahead of Adriano during the fight,” Eustaquio previously explained.
The newly crowned flyweight champion had grand plans for 2019 and previously discussed wanting to move down to strawweight or go up to bantamweight to become a two-division champion.
However, considering the competitiveness of the last battle, a trilogy clash with Moraes was always inevitable.
“I wish to have a new challenger, but Adriano is very much welcome,” Eustaquio told John Hyon Ko of The Body Lock.
“My role is to train and to defend the belt I have. It’s not my role to choose my opponent, it’s their job. My job is to keep healthy. My job is to stay hungry and defend my belt as many times as I can.”
It’s easy to stay motivated when ONE Championship continues to sign elite mixed martial arts talent from all over the world, Eustaquio explains.
“It’s good to have these guys on the promotion. Basically, the reality is that each and every athlete on the organization has to work more and focus on developing ourselves because great, great athletes are coming through. We need to develop in order for us to blend with these athletes.”
“It makes me hungrier and it makes me think to learn more and develop more.”
Arguably the greatest signing for the promotion in 2018 was Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, a former pound-for-pound great in the UFC.
Eustaquio acknowledges that there is a target on Johnson’s back already, but believes his ONE Flyweight Championship is ultimately what matters.
“Everybody wants DJ. Everybody wants Demetrious. But I believe my golden strap is worth more than DJ,” Eustaquio shared.
If Eustaquio successfully defends his title against Moraes at ONE: Hero’s Ascent, there’s no doubting that Eustaquio and Johnson are bound to cross paths sooner than later.
“My goal for 2019 is very simple just to keep my belt in the mountains. That’s the ultimate goal for 2019.”
As for how he’s going to keep the flyweight title in Baguio City and not in the hands of his Brazilian challenger, Eustaquio explains that a variety of Team Lakay’s patented spinning attacks should do the trick.
“You can expect me to do some turning, spinning things. I’m going to do savage spinning things if God permits I have the chance. I’m going to keep spinning in the cage and show new styles.”
Geje Eustaquio vs. Adriano Moraes is the scheduled main event of ONE: Hero’s Ascent, set to take place on Friday, Jan. 25 in Manila, Philippines.
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.