Representing Team Lakay, Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 22, was looking at a potential title eliminator when he was scheduled to face Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit, 22, of Thailand in the strawweight division at “ONE: Global Superheroes” on January 26, 2018. It was ONE Championship’s 12th event in the Philippines.
However, an injury forced the Thai mixed martial artist to withdraw from the match and the Team Lakay fighter was then given a choice by ONE Championship. The promotion asked the latter if he wanted to wait or take another bout.
“I am not really keen on waiting around for anything, so I just took one,” Pacio shared. “If an opponent changes, then an opponent changes. I just want to keep testing myself.”
“I am so competitive,” the Team Lakay warrior added. “It is like, do you want to compete or not? Of course, I want to compete. Let’s do this, whenever.”
Replacing Mitsatit, Lan Min Qiang, 24, of China made his ONE Championship debut at “ONE: Global Superheroes” and faced Pacio. The Team Lakay fighter ended up submitting his Chinese opponent via rear-naked choke.
Powered by youth intertwined with much passion, Pacio has accomplished what few men have while being one of the youngest strawweights in ONE Championship. Behind his boyish smile and beaming youth lies the composure of a grizzled cage veteran, capable of spectacular performances in front of mesmerizing crowds.
“I never envisioned myself being at this level so early in my career,” Pacio said. “I always thought it would take me a few years before I would be able to compete on such a big stage. Through hard work, I was able to push myself to become better.”
Pacio has been a man on a mission since losing to Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, 34, of Japan for the ONE Strawweight World Championship on October 7, 2016 at “ONE: State of Warriors.” Turning down a bout has never crossed the Team Lakay fighter’s mind even if it means gambling with a guaranteed shot at the gold-plated strap.
On July 27, 2018, the strawweight bout between Pacio and Mitsatit will finally take place. The latter will protect his undefeated professional MMA record from the Team Lakay fighter at “ONE: Reign of Kings” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
Meanwhile, watch the bout between Pacio and Lan here: