Rey Docyogen is qualified to do more than just fight. He is an architectural apprentice who like almost everyone in Team Lakay graduated from the University of the Cordilleras.
The 29 year old will have a lucrative career to fall back on if he ever decides to hang up his mixed martial arts (MMA) gloves but for the time being he has his sights set on a very different type of qualification. Docyogen needs to beat Shinichi Kojima on February 2nd in order to be awarded a shot at the ONE FC World Flyweight Title.
Their fight is the co main event at ONE FC: 'Return of Warriors' in Kuala Lumpur' and will be the first time that Docyogen has ever competed outside of the Philippines. He brings with him a 10-0 record and the URCC Pinweight Belt but believes he has it all to prove against Kojima.
"Now no one outside of Philippines knows my name but if I can beat Kojima everyone will know who I am. It's difficult for me to find opponents in the Philippines because I have beaten a lot of fighters already, some of them twice, so now is my time to fight for a big international event against a famous opponent."
Docyogen holds the URCC strap at 119 lbs and initially thought he was going to miss out on a spot on the roster with Asia's biggest MMA organization because he was too small. Having seen many of his team mates snapped up he set out to prove he could cut it as a flyweight.
"Victor Cui came to Baguio and he signed a lot of my team mates like Eduard (Folayang), Kevin (Belingon), Honorio (Banario)and Geje (Eustaquio) but he told me that he could not sign me because ONE FC did not have a pinweight division. I really wanted to fight for ONE FC so I moved up to 125 lbs so I could prove that I could fight at flyweight."
Docyogen's win over experienced boxer Rodel Orais at URCC Baguio 4 was enough to convince ONE FC to add him to the 125 lbs division and he will be making his long awaited debut for the promotion next month. Kojima was universally ranked as being the number one flyweight in the world at one point and the Team Lakay standout is well aware that the Japanese veteran represents a serious step up in opposition.
"He has fought some very famous fighters from Bellator and the UFC and was a champion of Shooto, he has good submissions and wrestling and a lot of experience. This will be my first time fighting for ONE FC and it is very important for me to win so I am training hard."
Docyogen will be one of three fighters from Baguio competing at ONE FC: 'Return of Warriors' as his team mate Honorio Banario takes on Eric Kelly for the featherweight title. He knows both men well but believes Banario will have the edge.
"Honorio is working very hard, he is in good shape and I think he will win this fight. Eric is very good on the ground and he has a high level of Wushu. It was a big surprise to everyone when they found out they would be fighting but it will be a good fight, maybe Honorio will win by decision."
Another Team Lakay flyweight fighter has already made an impression with ONE FC as Geje Eustaquio defeated BJJ world champion Alex Silva in Jakarta last February. Only a handful of 125 lbs fighters are currently in contention for the belt but Docyogen says there is no chance he will ever fight his team mate.
"Eric trained at Team Lakay in the past but he is not a member of the team so it is no problem for him and Honorio to fight but I cannot fight with one of my Team Lakay brothers. Geje was supposed to fight for ONE FC in February but his opponent cancelled, he is my sparring partner, my team mate and my friend, we will never fight each other."
Kojima's last four fights have all gone the distance and Docyogen believes that could be a factor which plays in his favour because he has stoppage wins coming in at the 9:26, 7:52 and 8:58 marks and is very confident of his ability to maintain a high pace for 15 minutes if he has to.
"When I fight I am very aggressive and I like to be relentless with takedowns or strikes or submission attempts. I know I am younger than Kojima and my fitness is very good so maybe that will be my advantage."
The aspiring architect has a lifetime to design buildings but before he settles down to that career he wants to build a sporting legacy which will stand the test of time. He is already one of the most dominant champions in the history of the URCC but he now has the opportunity to show he is not just the best flyweight in the Philippines but one of the best in the entire world.