The call of the cage: A former URCC champ recaptures MMA glory

agustin delarmino former urcc champion

After a two-year hiatus from MMA competition, former URCC champ Agustin Delarmino Jr. returns successfully with a CKF title around his waist.

Agustin Delarmino, Jr. made his comeback by winning Chinese KungFu Championship’s (CKF) bantamweight title last August 10 in Macau, China.

Delarmino, a former URCC flyweight and super fight champion, put away former UFC fighter Zhikui Yao in the second round of their title bout. Yao previously faced another Filipino in Jenel Lausa for UFC Fight Night in Melbourne, Australia. The Chinese lost to Lausa via unanimous decision.

“I’m very happy,” Delarmino tells Dojo Drifter about his title victory. “Ginawa ko ang lahat at alam ni God ang mga sakripisyo ko. Nagtatrabaho ako sa gabi at training sa umaga. Araw-araw jogging ako galing work papuntang bahay.”

Agustin Delarmino Jr. celebrates CKF title victory with Warrior Fitness team.
Agustin Delarmino Jr. celebrates CKF title victory with Warrior Fitness team. Photo via Mark Eddiva

It took Delarmino more than two years to compete again in MMA. In 2014, Delarmino decided to leave the Philippines and seek better opportunities. According to him, he couldn’t solely rely on fight purses to provide for his family. He wanted a full-time job abroad. He eventually flew to Macau where his friend had an tempting job offer.

“Noong nag-asawa na ako, naisip ko mag-base sa Macau kasi naisip ko maghanap ng full-time job. Ang MMA hindi naman life-time at may pamilya na ako. One of my friends and now my boss offered me a job in a 5-star hotel together with my wife. Pero kahit nagtatrabaho na ako, I’m still engaged in the gym, but only part-time.”

In spite of earning a full-time job, Delarmino faced a tough balancing act of working at the hotel and training as a fighter. He knew his family was the priority, so he put aside his championship dreams. And for the next two years 2 years, he became a part-time instructor at Warrior Fitness Gym.

“Ang aking boss at owner ng gym na si Howard Stribelle, pinagkatiwalan niya pa rin ako. Ako ang naging unang Pilipino na instructor sa Warrior Fitness. Nagtatrabaho ako at nagtratraining hanggang sa may kumausap sa boss ko na merong event ang CKF Asia.”

As soon as he knew it was for a CKF title, Delarmino grabbed the opportunity knocking on his door.

“Wala akong coach,” he admits. “Ako lang nag-seself training para sa laban na ito. May mga kaibigan lang ako na tumutulong sa akin.”

One of his friends is former UFC fighter Mark Eddiva, whom Delarmino helped to become his co-instructor at the gym. “Si Mark pinakilala ko sa boss ko at hinire siya as a teacher and naging part-time na siya sa gym.”

Delarmino is no stranger to holding a coveted gold. According to the 29-year-old former URCC champion, he never lost his titles to any fighter. When asked if he wants to compete again in his country, Delarmino responded, “Willing ako mag-accept sa Pilipinas or sa CKF. Kung merong laban, lalaban ako ulit.”

Don Gaoiran

Rabble-rouser at Dojo Drifter
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