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This week we want to introduce you to RockStar Lukaz, or as he’s usually introduced, Lukaz ‘The Lycan’ Catubig. Originally from the Philippines, Lukaz is a Melbourne-based MMA fighter with an 11 win and 6 loss record, fighting in both Australia and Asia. He also holds the record for the fastest knockout in Australian Fighting Championships history, taking down his opponent in just 10 seconds.

What’s your favourite colour RockTape and why?

My favourite colour RockTape is the red one because it’s my favourite colour, and it also reminds me of my burning passion in martial arts.

Tell us the story of how you got into MMA at such a young age? What drew you to the sport and prompted you to take it so seriously?

When I was 11 years old, I started Tae kwon do. At this age I remember I wanted to learn martial arts because I wanted to defend myself and protect my family. My parents didn’t like the idea of me learning MMA because of the idea that I may turn into a thug.

One day I got into trouble trying to defend a girl in my class because she was bullied by a group of boys at school. I fought one of them and he gave me a black eye. When I got home my uncle saw my bruise and decided to take me to a taekwondo gym. The rest is history

At the age of 17 mixed martial arts grew big in my city (Dumaguete city in the Philippines). One day I saw one of the champions of the sport in my city on the TV and I and told myself I wanted to be like him. To be a champion and to be the best mixed martial artist in the whole world. And from that day forward I haven’t looked back and haven’t stopped improving until this very day.

What’s the difference between MMA and other forms of fighting such as Muay Thai, Boxing or the more traditional martial arts?

The term ‘Mixed Martial Arts’ or MMA refers to a martial art that is derived from a mixture of several different martial art disciplines usually with the goal of creating a more effective and more complete hybrid art.

The main difference of MMA to Muay Thai, boxing or any traditional martial arts is the lack of ground, grappling and submission on the ground. Another difference between Muay Thai and MMA is the open-fingered glove used in MMA. MMA gloves make it possible to grab and are better for grappling and submission fighting than a boxing glove.

And how do you win a competition? Obviously you could knock someone out like you’ve done before, but is it also scored on points? How does that work?

Yes TKO is one way to win. Also, if you get a choke or get your opponent to submit then they can tap out. And if no one gets knocked out or submitted it goes to the judges and the winner is decided by points.

What does your typically training week consist of? What type of training are you doing and how many hours?

I basically train twice a day during the week and once on Saturdays for about 1-2hours per session. My training involves MMA sparring, Jiu Jitsu sparring, Kick boxing sparring, padwork, bagwork, conditioning, running, circuit training and intervals.

You’re also a qualified commercial cook. Has your background as a cook helped you with your MMA nutrition? Could you share with us one of your favourite healthy recipes?

Definitely! Not just nutrition but I also make it taste good even though I’m on a strict diet.

And yes, I’m happy to share my protein chocolate pancake recipe.

4 eggs
2 bananas
1 cup of oats
2 tablespoon cacao powder
1 scoop protein
½ teaspoon cinnamon

The weigh in seems like pretty serious business? Do you have to cut a lot of weight before fighting? How do you do that and not have it affect your performance?

Yes, before I used to struggle because I worked in a kitchen so that was really hard for me. But now knowing the science behind nutrition and how to do it properly makes cutting weight a bit easier.

I am normally 77kg when I eat anything I want – and I mean anything, like brownies for example. I will cut down to 62kg for my next fight on May 13 this year – the Bantamweight championship belt against Arana in Brace MMA 50 in Townsville Australia.

What does your mental preparation leading up to a fight look like? Is it difficult to prepare yourself not just to perform at your best, but to be ready to get hit and deal with the pain?

My mental coach Thad Mangalino makes sure that my mind-set is on point. We take this very seriously and there are many exercises that he applies to make sure that I’m mentally ready to dominate and win my fight. In this game there is no room for fear. If you’re afraid to get hurt or die for this game then you might as well change careers (sorry if that sounds harsh!)

You’re also a coach – is that a career you chose because it fits around your training, or is it something you love doing?

Yes I am coach.  At first it was a choice so that I could train harder and focus more on my training. But as my journey as a coach goes on I’ve fallen in love with it and enjoy sharing my passion and seeing my students become the best version of themselves either in fitness or in marital arts. It makes me happy.

When you are coaching, how do you answer the concerns of parents that the sport is too violent or not appropriate for children?

Well it’s a good thing they have to sign a waiver before they join! And if they are under age we make sure they have a parent’s consent. In fact, I even have a 12 year old kid training with me that is so focused and hungry to be a UFC fighter. Seeing him with the 100% support of his parents makes me happy as a coach.

Do you have any advice or techniques that you recommend everyone learn for self-defence purposes?

If it’s just for self-defence everyone should learn how to box and wrestle. But really you should simply learn how to run, and train by sprinting as hard as you can every day. I think the best self-defence is to get out of the situation.

Who is an inspiration for you or has had a big impact on your success in the sport?

My inspiration is my parents. They work so hard to make sure I have a great future. That alone fires me up.

What’s coming up next for you, any tournaments or travel?

Yes! My next fight is BRACE 50. I am fighting for the bantamweight championship belt so yes I’m extremely excited about it.

Where can people follow you or learn more about your journey?

Instagram: @lukazthelycan