For the second time in his young career, Filipino strawweight contender Joshua “The Passion” Pacio will be challenging for the ONE Strawweight World Championship.
Pacio will once again share the cage with reigning strawweight titleholder Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito from Japan to determine who gets the right to call himself the king of ONE Championship’s 56.7-kilogram division at ONE: Conquest of Heroes on September 22 in Jakarta, Indonesia
This will be a rematch of their 2016 encounter for the championship, which saw the challenger Pacio showcasing his mettle as one of the top talents in the division with a solid performance in a losing effort and Naito proving why he was the defending champion with a third-round submission victory.
At that time, it was just Pacio’s third fight on the ONE Championship stage, having won his first two bouts in impressive fashion.
Way before he was regarded as one of the Philippines’ best young mixed martial artists, Pacio started out as a fan sitting in the stands, watching and cheering on his mentors in Team Lakay.
“I still can’t believe it,” Pacio said. “Before, I was just sitting there, up in the stands, watching my coaches compete. Now, I’m competing alongside them as well.”
The 22-year old Baguio City native began his ONE Championship career in 2016 and has since posted a 6-2 record with notable wins over the likes of Kritsada Kongsrichai, former ONE Strawweight World champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke and most recently, Pongsiri Mitsatit.
On September 22nd, he gets another opportunity at the coveted ONE Strawweight World Championship.
Pacio got into the martial arts world through Wush, much like his seniors at Team Lakay, and initially thought that would be the farthest that his journey would take him.
“Never, in a million years, would I have known that getting into Wushu would take me this far.” Pacio explained.
“I thought regional competitions in Wushu and national tournaments would be the final stop for me in terms of martial arts,” he continued.
Training every single day with the kind of talent that calls Team Lakay home will definitely help with one’s motivation.
Seeing his coaches and stars like Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Honorio Banario and Geje Eustaquio represent Team Lakay inside the ONE Championship cage, it lit a fire inside of Pacio.
Now that Folayang, Belingon, Banario, and Eustaquio are all in ONE Championship’s record books as world champions, Pacio hopes to be able to follow suit.
“When I saw my coaches go in there and compete in front of thousands of fans, of course it got me excited, it got me motivated,” he stated.
“I had to look at myself and ask if Wushu was really the pinnacle of my martial arts career, or could I do a whole lot more? I got my answer in mixed martial arts,” Pacio added.
With the guidance of Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao, Pacio did go on to do a lot more, and he is on track to do even more in his mixed martial arts career.
For more updates on ONE Championship, please visit www.onefc.com, follow on Twitter and Instagram @ONEChampionship, and like on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ONEChampionship.
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