Rolando Dy comes from a famous fighting family. His father was a world boxing champion and the 26-year-old, who fights Shane Young at UFC Singapore this Saturday, has been training since he was a teenager, but says he found his own path into martial arts.
“I did not grow up in the care of my father, but at the age of 19, I joined a martial arts club in school. I really wanted to fight, I love fighting, that’s why I entered martial arts, to beat people in the street.”
The UFC is well established in the Philippines, and watching it inspired Dy to take a more disciplined approach to his training,
“When I became a fan of UFC, I started finding MMA gyms near the school and that’s the start,” Dy continued. “I just love fighting and that’s the only thing I wanted to do, that’s why I turned pro.”
In the early days, Dy alternated between wins and losses, getting matched with experienced opponents like Ev Ting. A three-fight winning streak put him in contention for a spot on the UFC roster, but the call only came when Chinese featherweight Wang Guan got injured three weeks before the promotion’s second card in Singapore.
Dy stepped up as a late replacement and was stopped by Alex Caceres. He dropped a decision to Teruto Ishihara three months later and was unceremoniously removed from the roster. The Filipino was all set to retire from the sport when something happened that he believes was a miracle.
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“I was signed again to fight on two week’s notice, plus I needed to cut 20 kilograms (about 44 pounds). I asked God for help and he gave me my first win.”
Out of work and out of shape, Dy was offered the opportunity to fight on the UFC’s Shanghai card. He was not in training at the time, but accepted the offer and resurrected his career with a hard-fought decision win over Buren Wuliji.
“Before I trusted solely in my talent, but what happened makes me trust God more,” he said.
Whether or not divine intervention was involved, the win instantly secured Dy a spot on the UFC roster. Having unexpectedly been handed a second chance, he decided to make the most of it and was already in shape when the call came to fight Shane Young last month.
“Since February, I was grinding just in case I will be called late again. Now I am ready.”
Young has fought in Asia a few times and dropped a decision to Alex Volkanovski on his UFC debut. Dy is aware of what his opponent offers, but is confident of victory.
“I think the strength of my opponent is he is tough, he doesn’t quit, and he can take punches. But, he is slow and quite stiff. I will outclass him in stand-up and win my fourth UFC fight.”
None of the Filipino fighters signed by the UFC so far have made a lasting impression. But at least Dy is still on the roster and he’s determined to secure that spot by making a good impression in Singapore.
“I am really excited to perform again and show what a Filipino warrior can do.”