While ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio waits for his next conquest on the ONE Championship stage, he is spending his time being a good teammate.
Last April, the 23-year-old Baguio City native successfully reclaimed his ONE Strawweight World Title after knocking out Yosuke “The Ninja” Saruta of Japan in their highly-anticipated rematch at ONE: Roots of Honor in Manila.
There has not been any word as to when Pacio will compete again – so now, it is all about making sure his teammates come in prepared for ONE: Century.
“I’m excited to defend my title, but since I don’t have a scheduled bout yet, I’m focusing on helping my teammates prepare for their big battles,” Pacio said.
“Four of them will be in ONE: Century, which is one of the biggest cards of ONE Championship. I’m making sure that I help out in the biggest matches of their careers.”
Honorio “The Rock” Banario also battles Japanese lightweight legend Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki, while Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang makes his main roster debut when he takes on Senzo Ikeda.
“They’re really up for a battle. It won’t be easy so for our part, we make sure to give our best in helping them whichever way in training,” Pacio said.
“We all need to be laser-focused.”
For Pacio, it’s a win-win situation. It keeps him active both mentally and physically.
Just as he wants to see his teammates come out victorious in Tokyo, Pacio also signified his intention to headline the ONE: Masters of Fate card, which is the last ONE Championship event in Manila for 2019.
“The cards are beginning to stack up for the remaining events this year, and I feel like I’m most likely to compete in Manila next,” Pacio shared.
“I’m willing to defend my title anytime, anywhere – but I do hope to defend it here in Manila.”
The Filipino phenom is also aware that he might be facing a fellow Filipino for his title defense. Knocking on the doors of his strawweight throne is 40-year-old veteran Rene “The Challenger” Catalan.
Catalan is currently on a six-match winning streak and is coming off a first-round stoppage win over former ONE strawweight king Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito of Japan at ONE: Reign of Valor in Yangon in March.
If it comes to that, Pacio said he will come in prepared.
“Rene Catalan has been very impressive. Winning six-straight is no joke, and in his last win, I’ve never seen an athlete do that to Naito. He continues to grow each time as a fighter,” Pacio said.
“I respect Rene Catalan. They’re the pioneers. They represented the country countless times before. But this is MMA and I have to prove that I deserve the belt, so I’ll do everything to retain my World Title.”
Watch ONE Championship’s next event, ONE: Immortal Triumph, on September 6 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It will be the organization’s first-ever all-Super Series event. To catch all the action, download the ONE Super App.
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