High Stakes for Rolando Dy’s Second Chance
Fighting in the hallowed Octagon is Rolando Dy’s dream “since Day One.” However, Dy will have to literally fight for his dream to stay alive, as he was given another chance to remain in the roster of the premier MMA league.
Dy revealed that the UFC already decided to cut him last month. “[Nakatanggap] kami ng email sa UFC na they will cut me. So, okay, tinanggap namin ‘yon,” Dy shared. (We received an email from the UFC that they will cut me. So, okay, we accepted that.)
But Dy’s UFC tenure is not over just yet; he received another email from the UFC, asking him to fight on a two-week notice. And although it was a very steep mountain to climb, Dy agreed to fight Wuliji Buren in the preliminary card of UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs Gastelum, in his opponent’s home of Shanghai, China.
Since making his Octagon debut last June, Dy has yet to taste victory inside an Ultimate Fighting Championship cage. Dy showed fire in the opening round of his debut fight against veteran Alex Caceres, but he was TKO’d due to an eye injury that he suffered in the second round.
He then had a shot at redemption three months later, but he was beaten by Japanese Teruto Ishihara via unanimous decision in the undercard of UFC Saitama.
The striker from Cavite is aware of the challenges that he needs to overcome. “I’ve seen him fight. He’s strong and he has good wrestling. And I think he’s more prepared,” Dy mentioned. Despite only having a few days to train, “Experience and heart and size” is his advantage going into the fight, according to Dy.
With an unimpressive 0-2 start, Dy knows that he needs to win to keep his spot in the UFC featherweight roster. “I really need to win this fight because they’ve already cut me before,” said Dy. “I’m positive and I’ll do my best to get the W for the Philippines,” he then added.
Former WBC super featherweight champion Rolando Navarrete is the father of Dy. Navarrete is known as “the Bad Boy of Dadiangas” for his gritty style inside the ring, and his notoriety outside of it.
Dy shared that he saw his father leave his mom when he was only two, and the first and only time he met the older Rolando was in his teens. Asked if he was inspired by Navarrete to be a professional fighter, Dy answered, “Not really.”
“It was not my goal to follow his footsteps,” the UFC featherweight said. According to him, it was just a coincidence that he loved combat sports, too.
Dy previously said in an interview that he’s thankful for his father’s name in helping him “to rise,” but his goal is to come out of the shadow casting over him his entire life. Dy said he wanted to be known as the best fighter in the world instead of just being the son of Navarrete.
The theme of UFC Fight Night: Shanghai will be redemption, as the main event will feature a showdown between two Ultimate Fighter winners in Michael Bisping and Kelvin Gastelum. The British fighter wowed the mixed martial arts world when he announced that he’s stepping back inside the Octagon only a few days after losing his middleweight title to Georges St-Pierre.
Bisping replaced Anderson Silva, who was removed from the card because of a doping violation. The former middleweight king agreed to a short-notice fight to once again reach the top, just like Dy accepted a two-week notice fight to salvage his UFC career.
Year 2017 has not been kind to Filipino cage fighters, as it witnessed the fall of UFC flyweight Jenel Lausa and former ONE lightweight champion Eduard Folayang. Dy said his goal is to bring joy to Filipino fight fans in the form of a combo-breaker. “My goal is to win and to end the year with a win for the Pinoys.”
Rafael Bandayrel is a self-confessed nerd who happens to love MMA. Yes, nerds watch sports these days. What a time to be alive.
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