Season of ‘The Jaguar’

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HE may not be counted among the acknowledged kings and princes of Philippine MMA, namely the Team Lakay.

But Jeremy “The Jaguar” Miado is consolidating a kingdom of his own in the sport that many say is second nature to Filipinos.

Almost a week ago, the 28-year old Bicolano dazzled global fans at ONE Championship’s ONE: Next Gen, a six-bout card topped by the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix semifinals. Putting on a show of masterful striking from the bell, Miado was light on his feet, almost breezy in his demeanor, but meant business from the start. Miao Li Tao, his opponent, coped and survived, but come the second, Miado found a golden moment and let a barrage of punches rain on his Chinese foe.

Miao had waited for this opportunity to get back at Miado for the flying knee knockout the Filipino dealt him in the Circle two years ago. He wanted to prove it was a fluke. That this time around he was ready for the Filipino, and better than ever.

“Beating Miado would…definitely help me with my heart and spirit,” said the Chinese fighter, who found himself at the wrong end of a flying knee that connected straight to his chin and knocked him out cold.

“I never believed that Miado is the better fighter between the two of us. I was just going too rough and I wasn’t careful enough in that first match and that’s why he caught me. This time I’ll just stick to my game plan and do my thing and I believe that I will be the winner without a doubt.”

In fact, he wanted to be the one to knock Miado out this time around.

“I got finished last time, so there’s no excuse for me to not finish him this time,” he said. “I will put on a show and knock him unconscious for good.” 

Well, the MMA gods had other plans. That golden Miado Moment came just 50 seconds into the second round. That flurry of punches—delivered so fast and masterfully by Miado—was enough to put a stop to Miao’s ambition. The rematch ended in another subjugating TKO. It was another spectacular strawweight win.

After the fight, Miado did his post-fight interview with emcee Mitch Chilson as lightly as if he were just a weekend basketball athlete back from a pick-up game from a nearby outdoor court. He showed no signs of wear and tear, not even a little hard breathing from the cardio he just put himself through. 

He has improved a great deal, noted insiders at ONE. Miado had been self training for the longest time and working by himself, with the help of his wife Chesla (also an MMA athlete) and his brother. But his gym, Switch, where he was the coach, closed down. And before he knew it, he was training with the Zamboanga siblings, Drex and Denice in Marrok Force Gym in Bangkok.

This time, he had a trainer, a mentor, and he started to discover and develop parts of himself he had never discovered before.

Marrok Force Director of MMA Williams Arangquiz, a Chilean Purple Belt, has been impressed with Miado ever since he came to Marrok Force through Drex and Denice.  

“They said he was a good fighter so I checked him out and I was surprised by his power, watching his knockouts, and his unpredictable style.”

“Jeremy doesn’t give up easily,” Aranguiz said. “He has a very strong fighting heart and he loves his family. I know it has been very difficult for him recently, having been away from his family for over two years to focus on his career and it’s really a tough period for him. But he still comes into the gym looking to work hard every single day, and he’s just waiting patiently for his moment to shine.”

Aranguiz felt Miado needed a more solid ground game though. “When he arrived at Marrok Force, we worked a lot on his footwork, timing, and wrestling, especially in the area of takedown defense.” This is one of the reasons, Aranquiz said, that prior to ONE: Next Gen, Miado had not been able to string back-to-back victories in ONE.

“I needed to improve my ground game like wrestling and BJJ [Brazilian Jiu Jitsu],” admitted Miado. “I chose Marrok Force because they were the ones who gave my wife and me the opportunity to train with them. Here, we train together with the Zamboangas, who are very good people and very helpful. They always share advice and their knowledge about martial arts with us, unselfishly.”

Pre-fight, Miado said of Miao: “I expect a hard fight from Miao because he would like to get back at me for what happened last fight. But I’ll still be looking for a KO win.” He had accurately predicted “a KO or TKO win in the first or second round.”

And so Jeremy Miado, the unheralded, the simple, humble son of farmers from Albay is riding high on his recent spectacular, consecutive victory in ONE. He now has 10 wins and four losses, a career that is stunningly punctuated by a knockout win against legendary Muay Thai World Champion and former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke in 2018.  Dejdamrong was able to even the score with him when they met again in February 2019, however. Just the same, his combat sports record to date of 76-7 is an amazing achievement for someone so lowkey.

Besides his blazing heart and his quiet but unswerving focus to become a professional martial arts athlete who will be a ONE champion one day, Jeremy has a built-in advantage as a martial arts athlete, says Pauline Cunanan of ONE. “He’s tall, he has the advantage of both height and reach. Athletes of Jeremy’s size in strawweight are extremely rare. Plus he is really strong. And he trains with very strong athletes too.”

Things are really looking up for Jeremy Miado. ‘Tis the Season of “The Jaguar.”

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