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Mixed Martial Arts

Joshua Pacio stands firm on settling unfinished business at strawweight

Only a few Filipino mixed martial artists can boast the kind of impressive resume that Joshua Pacio has amassed throughout his career.

The 27-year-old Baguio City native has long been regarded as the most dominant strawweight to ever grace ONE Championship, and his accolades speak volumes about his capabilities on the sport’s global stage.

With two championship reigns and eight world title contests under his belt, along with three successful defenses, Pacio seems to have nothing more to prove in the division. Yet, there’s a twist in the tale.

His most recent outing at ONE Fight Night 15 against Mansur Malachiev brought a new challenge to the forefront. In an interview with Tiebreaker Times, he candidly admitted that this particular weight cut had been the most grueling of his entire strawweight stint.

“Weight-cutting was a big factor. Also, I went through a 10-month layoff. Of course, part of it is my responsibility as an athlete,” Pacio said.

Despite passing the hydration test with ease, his struggle became evident when he stepped onto the scales. He had to enter a makeshift curtain and remove his undergarment just to meet the required weight limit.

While Pacio prevailed over Malachiev, earning a close unanimous decision, he remains critical of his own performance.

ONE-Fight-Night-15-Joshua-Pacio-def-Mansur-Malachiev Joshua Pacio stands firm on settling unfinished business at strawweight Mixed Martial Arts News ONE Championship  - philippine sports news


“The Passion” believes that he could have done much better, and one of the key factors he identified was how he cut weight for the contest.

Taking full responsibility, Pacio is determined to make the necessary adjustments moving forward.

The Lions Nation MMA representative plans to maintain his weight at 130 pounds, which would require him to cut only five pounds for his next assignment.

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“I’ll be the first to admit that it was one of my mistakes. Of course, I’m eager to address it. The goal right now is to maintain my weight of 130 pounds and to be as healthy and in good condition as I can,” he stated.

Back in April, Pacio hinted that his days at 125 pounds might be numbered, with a move up to flyweight on the horizon.

That idea is taking a backseat for now as his primary goal is to recapture the ONE strawweight championship he relinquished to Jarred Brooks in December 2022.

Pacio vows that he is ready to face Brooks in a rematch. Moreover, he is open to taking on other contenders in the Top Five.

“If ONE gives the rematch against Jarred Brooks, let’s go. If I’m going to fight someone else, as long as it’s someone in the Top Five, I’m game for that,” he declared.

Written By

Nissi Icasiano is a sportswriter, analyst and editor from the Philippines. He started his professional career in 2013. He has also written for various media outlets such as, ABS-CBN, Tiebreaker Times,,, South China Morning Post, The Phnom Penh Post and the International Business Times. In 2017, he started a career as a Combat Sports Analyst for television and radio, appearing on various news shows for ABS-CBN, GMA, TV5, Radyo Singko 92.3 News FM, PTV 4, Business World, Radyo Pilipinas 2 and Bombo Radyo Philippines. He practices boxing at Tiger City Boxing Gym whenever he is not writing.

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