After losing to Japanese fighters Yoshitaka Naito, 33, and Hayato Suzuki, 31, Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 22, is back on the winning side. The Team Lakay fighter proved that he is still one of the top ONE Championship strawweight contenders after defeating his two most recent opponents, Roy Doliguez, 36, and Lan Ming Qiang, 24.
From late 2013 to mid-2016, Pacio was an undefeated fighter. With a professional MMA record of 8 wins and 0 loss, he faced Naito, who was the ONE Strawweight World Champion at the time, at “ONE: State of Warriors” on October 7, 2016.
At “ONE: State of Warriors,” Naito submitted Pacio at 1:33 of Round 3 via rear-naked choke. On March 11, 2017, the Team Lakay fighter redeemed himself by defeating Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke of Thailand at “ONE: Warrior Kingdom.”
But on August 5, 2017, Pacio was defeated by yet another Japanese opponent. Suzuki submitted him at 3:17 of Round 1 via rear-naked choke at “ONE: Kings and Conquerors.”
On November 10, 2017, Pacio enjoyed another redemptive win in front of his countrymen when he knocked out his fellow Filipino fighter Roy Doliguez at 0:38 of Round 2 at “ONE: Legends of the World.” On January 26, 2018, Pacio earned another hometown victory when he submitted Lan at 4:01 of Round 1 via rear-naked choke at “ONE: Global Superheroes.”
During the post-fight interview inside the cage at “ONE: Global Superheroes,” Pacio told Mitch Chilson that he did work on his rear-naked choke submission skills after losing to Naito and Suzuki in the same method. During the post-fight conference, I asked Pacio if he thought he was ready to face the reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Alex Silva, 35.
While Pacio is passionate and hungry, he is not in a rush to have a title bout again. He is willing to wait for the perfect time and while waiting, there are things that he wants to settle.
Pacio said he wants to take his time since he is still young. In particular, he wants to face the veterans first, including Naito and Suzuki, before finally challenging the reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion.
After defeating Pacio, Naito was challenged by Silva at “ONE: Warriors of the World.” Silva won via unanimous decision making him the new ONE Strawweight World Champion.