Jeremy “The Jaguar” Miado has already claimed the biggest win of his life. He’s fought his way out of poverty. Now he wants to battle his way to the top of ONE Championship.
Miado was born into poverty and grew up the third of four siblings in the Philippines’ Albay province. But as he grew up, he became determined to use martial arts to drag himself – and his family – out of hardship.
Miado’s parents split, leaving his mother to raise all four children on her own. It was a day-to-day struggle to make ends meet and put her kids through school.
“I knew I had to do something to help out, anything,” he told ONE Championship.
“I could not watch my mother go through that by herself, so I knew it was up to me to change our situation.”
Miado graduated from school, but knew that his family couldn’t afford to put him through college, too. He ended up taking a day job in order to pay his own way.
“I was a working student. I would start work very early in the morning, and go to school right after,” the 25-year-old explained.
“My mother sold vegetables at the wet market. I was also helping her out there. I had very little rest.”
Miado faced a tough road, but took inspiration from one of his sporting heroes, Manny Pacquiao. “Pacman” had similarly managed to work his way out of similar circumstances to become a national hero through his boxing exploits, as he became a multi-division world champion and one of the most recognisable sportsmen on the planet.
“He was my idol,” Miado said.
“I wanted to be just like him. Along with everyone else, I began boxing. I had dreams of being just as successful, and it motivated me.”
Miado fared well as an amateur, but soon became fascinated by Muay Thai during his college days, then turned his attention to the cage shortly after.
“I looked to the cage, and things began to change for me,” he said.
“I competed professionally on a couple of small shows, and learned that I could make some money.
“It was not much, but it was enough for me to make an impact on my family’s financial situation. I was also able to pay for my college tuition, which I am forever grateful for.”
Miado graduated with a Batchelor’s degree in Criminology and, rather than pursue a career in law enforcement, he decided to chase his dream of becoming a champion inside the cage.
Now he’s an athlete in ONE Championship, where his bouts are shown to a potential audience of over 1.7 billion people. He’s earning money and he’s helping turn around not only his life, but that of his family.
“Life is very hard when you are poor in the Philippines,” he says.
“I would not want anyone to go through the hardship that we did. Just to feed my family, it is a tough task. To have a brighter future – that is why I keep competing.
“I still keep in contact with my father, even when my parents broke up. He is still my father, after all.
“Right now, I am helping him out, and buying medicine for him, because he is ill.”
Miado continues his quest to help his family while furthering himself as a martial artist. His next test comes on Saturday, 24 March in Bangkok when he takes on former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke at ONE: IRON WILL.
And “The Jaguar” only need to look within himself for all the motivation he needs.
“I will fight for my future the best way I know how,” he said.
“And come 24 March, I will take on a legend, and win.”