Save for the reigning champion, there’s no one in ONE’s featherweight division who’s a hotter ticket right now than Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon.
The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu superstar has taken the promotion by storm since signing in 2018, slowly building his case for a shot at the crown.
After going undefeated in six matches, Tonon, now ranked #3 at featherweight, finally gets his due — a shot at current ONE Featherweight World Champion Thanh Le at ONE X on December 5th in Singapore.
It’s the biggest opportunity in the mixed martial arts career of the multiple-time submission grappling champion, and he has maximized his training camp by testing his mettle against a variety of sparring partners as he has moved from Puerto Rico and New York to now in Austin, Texas, in preparation for this fight.
“The idea would be to try to get as many guys that can, at least on some level, replicate some of the things that he does,” said Tonon, who beat Koyomi Matsushima via unanimous decision in his last fight in December last year.
“I’m trying to pick and choose my training partners, but I would say that in general, the way I have done my mixed martial arts training has been with a very small group of people and it tends to be the same group of people. I don’t do a whole lot of specific planning in terms of making sure somebody has exactly the body type, and exactly this, and exactly that. At least I haven’t up until now.”
Tonon’s extensive training regimen should be expected. After all, he’s not just approaching any fighter — he’s going against Le to challenge for the crown.
“Fortunately, I got the opportunity to have Andre Fili come out several times because he has wanted to work out for grappling and stuff like that. He’s a super high-level striker so I’ve been loving having training sessions with him, a high-caliber guy in the room to work out with and training partners that take care of me and know me and know my limitations and I know their limitations,” Tonon said.
“We take care of each other and we can get training in every day.”
For Tonon, it’s all a matter of taking full advantage of his time in hopes of bringing it all together come fight night where he hopes he gets his arms raised after the final bell.
“Everybody gets the extra time. It’s not like one person wasn’t able to do anything during their period of time that they had extra. I’m sure [Le’s] had more time to work on stuff to prepare for me and vice-versa. I obviously built my confidence on some level because it’s been a while. I’d love to have more fights, but the titles are important and for him defending the title is important obviously,” Tonon said.
“It meant a lot to make sure that we’re ready for this fight, to make this fight happen. If it takes a year to make the title fight happen, I think that’s worth it. I think that’s a reasonable sacrifice of time for such a monumental event like trying to win a title.”
ONE Championship returns on Friday, October 15 with ONE: First Strike. The main event features a battle for the inaugural ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Championship between Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan and Superbon.