Driven by his desire to become an even better mixed martial artist, reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio went to Manila to train during his break from competition.
The 23-year-old Team Lakay standout briefly left his home in Baguio to train at the Academia John Baylon in the Philippine capital.
John Baylon is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, as well as an Olympian who competed in judo in the 1988 and 1992 Summer Olympics.
Under his guidance, Pacio continues to add new dimensions to his ground game.
“Since 2016, we’ve been going down to Manila to roll and cross train [with coach John and his team]. This is such a big help for us, as we look to add more skills and confidence on the ground,” the strawweight king said.
“Yes, we’re able to train our ground game in Baguio, but we need to learn new techniques and get that composure on the ground.”
Knowing he has a huge target on his back now, Pacio understands the importance of having excellent grappling skills in his arsenal.
The Baguio native will eventually face someone who will try to give him fits on the ground, so he looks to prepare by improving his wrestling and jiu-jitsu now.
“When we train here, we got all our bases covered. We learn grappling that’s really applicable in mixed martial arts, particularly the techniques,” he explained.
“We also need to keep on working on the drills that we learned. That will be key.”
It’s not easy to travel approximately 260 kilometers to get to Baylon’s gym, but Pacio does not mind the travel at all.
He went to the academy with the understanding that the knowledge he gains will only benefit him in the future, so making the long trek from home continues to be a simple decision.
“I want to achieve more in this sport, and the first step that I need to do is to acknowledge the areas where I need to improve,” the young star explained.
“It’s really important to level up as an athlete. As I’ve said, I’m still young. This isn’t the peak of my career. I am going to continue learning and improving, even if it’s one percent a day.”