STRIKER Joshua Pacio practically beat up ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito in the first two rounds of their title fight at the ONE: State of Warriors at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar last week.
Pacio was piling up points as he hit Naito almost at will and stuffed every one of the champion’s many takedown attempts. Everything was going Pacio’s way until Naito spun him to the ground in the third round then clamped a rear naked choke on his neck to submit the brash challenger and retain the title.
The loss would have discouraged a lesser man. Instead Pacio believes the bitter loss has taught him a valuable lesson in humility which has made him a better fighter.
“I was really taken by surprise during that fight. I learned a valuable lesson. You can’t afford to be careless in a fight. You have to be aware of what’s happening even when you’re ahead. You should always have that presence of mind. Your opponent also trained and prepared hard for the fight. He is also ready to fight and win,” Pacio said in a phone interview with Manila Standard.
Before the Naito fight Pacio strung up eight consecutive abbreviated victories. He won three via knockout and then prevailed in the other five via submission.
Pacio is now back in Baguio practicing in his home gym Team Lakay.
“I started training again. I’m just there working out. Regarding my next fight I don’t really have any preference. Whoever they put up is okay. I need to prepare hard for my next fight,” said Pacio.
Pacio grew up in La Trinidad, Benguet. He had to overcome oppressive odds all of his life. His father left the family, relocating to Israel for work when he was only six years old. This forced his mother to raise him as a single parent.
He said he was fat at the age of 10. His weight at the time was 65kg. He was so fat that when he stood up he could not see his feet because his belly was too big.
He was introduced by his uncle, an exMuay Thai fighter, to the martial arts. Pacio was immediately inspired in large part because he found a new father figure in his uncle.
He said Martial arts changed his life. His attitude improved, his health improved and he learned the value of discipline.
At 11, Pacio began training in Muay Thai and kickboxing under the tutelage of his uncle. Because of all the activity he dropped his weight quickly. By 13 he moved on to wushu and then competed at the 2010 Wushu Nationals just a year later.
He joined Team Lakay after entering high school. He watched hometown hero Honorio Banario elevate his professional career in Filipino MMA and followed in the footsteps of his idol.
Because of his Team Lakay experience Pacio improved his game immensely. He racked up wins as a professional paving the way to the shot at the ONE Championship title showdown where he learned difficult but valuable lessons.
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