It is a mantra that fuels the engine of professional fighter Emilio Urrutia (11-6), a long-time Phuket resident and stalwart in the island’s burgeoning fight scene. “The Honeybadger” steps into the ONE Championship ring on Saturday, February 16 at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, where he will be taking on Japan’s Yoshiki Nakahara (11-4) in a mixed martial arts bout.
“I don’t know how, I don’t know when. All I know is that I’m going to win and have my hands up in the sky from the moment we get off the plane to the minute I walk out the cage. I’m showing up a winner and leaving a winner. That’s the only thing I know is a fact,” he says to The Phuket News.
Ever since moving to Phuket to become part of the Chalong-based Tiger Muay Thai & MMA fight team in the summer of 2013, Urrutia has not stopped fighting. This is where his career began, competing in promotions across Asia while training with high-level athletes who also call Phuket home.
“[Phuket] is basically a university for martial arts. I can literally go to class every single day, go to any different type of martial arts class, and learn every day from top coaches. On top of that, we always have people from different places constantly coming, so I’m always learning about new styles, new ways to do things, different routes, etc.. It is what has really helped me make those big gains in between training that, for sure, others don’t have the luxury of getting,” he says.
Urrutia’s high-level preparation is evident, especially when he first joined ONE Championship -- by far the biggest fight promotion in Asia. He won his first two fights with the promotion back-to-back, including a spectacular first-round knockout win last year over Brazilian grappling world champion, Bruno Pucci.
His next two bouts left more to be desired.
Now entering his February 16 bout on a two-fight losing streak, Urrutia is looking to put the past behind him, although he has been here before.
He lost back-to-back fights in 2015 and again in 2016, only to bounce back with three and four-fight win streaks, respectively.
Having fought across Asia in his last four fights, Urrutia will finally fight in his adopted country of Thailand for the first time in ONE Championship, a place where his career began and where he will share the card with his friends and teammates Shannon ‘Oneshin’ Wiratchai and Rika ‘Tiny Doll’ Ishige.
“I have fought in Bangkok three times before, and I have never lost here,” Urrutia says. “We will have the crowd on our side and our entire Tiger Muay Thai family out to support us.”
The preparation remains the same as it always has, he says. “Work hard, show up to practice, and work on everything together as a combined unit.”
Urrutia is finally able to compete in front of friends and family in Bangkok and has been adding more striking to his arsenal for the occasion.
“I have been working a lot on Muay Thai, particularly clinching for this fight,” he says. “I’ve got to represent for the land of smiles, for the people in Bangkok.”
And now it comes down to stepping into the bright lights of Asia’s fight capital with Urrutia looking for another win in Bangkok.