By Dan Paulo Errazo
ONE Championship female atomweight competitor Rome “The Rebel” Trinidad says 2018 Miss Universe winner Catriona Gray has given her an extra jolt of inspiration.
Gray is the fourth Filipina to wear the Miss Universe crown, but the road was full of challenges. After placing in the Top Five of Miss World 2016, Gray then worked hard to win Binibining Pilipinas which led her to represent the Philippines in the recently concluded global beauty pageant.
Gray’s underdog tale of victory has inspired Trinidad despite hardships in her own professional mixed martial arts career.
“She didn’t give up on her dream. Failures didn’t stop her to reach for her ultimate goal. It is empowering to have a fellow Filipina like Catriona Gray,” said Trinidad.
“We belong in totally different fields, but seeing her succeed boosted my morale and continues to inspire me to pursue my dreams just like her.”
The 2018 Miss Universe Gray, it turns out, is no stranger to martial arts. She is a black belt in Choi Kwang-Do, which was a recurring backstory in her run up through the pageant. In addition, Gray is also an advocate of Paraiso: A Bright Beginnings Project, whose main goal is to provide free education for children.
“Catriona is truly an inspiration for us women. She is living proof that anything is possible through hard work,” Trinidad said.
Conversely, Trinidad herself was formerly a freelance model and has appeared in commercials. But she eventually switched professions and became a mixed martial artist when she joined Elorde Boxing Gym.
Unfortunately for “The Rebel,” things didn’t really get off to a hot start. She made her professional debut in December 2017 and has since dropped two losses against prominent opponents. The Filipina was submitted in the second round by Rika “Tiny Doll” Ishige in her debut ONE: Warriors of the World last December 2017, and then dropped a first round submission to Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol months later.
Still, Trinidad remains determined to get back on track and pursue her dreams in the cage. Given the recent string of victories for the Philippines in the mixed martial arts arena, as well as Catriona Gray’s spectacular showing at the 2018 Miss Universe, Trinidad has plenty of avenues of inspiration.
And she will use these as a springboard for a run in 2019.
“We never lose. It’s either we win or we learn. My match against Rika Ishige in Bangkok, Thailand was a learning process for me and my team.
“It proved to be a year of success for the Philippines. I am drawing inspiration from that success as I open a new chapter in 2019. Like them, I am not giving up. I will be back stronger than ever,” Trinidad vowed.