Yoshitaka Naito: Team Lakay’s Joshua Pacio will be a champion one day

Yoshitaka Naito, Joshua Pacio

Yoshitaka Naito, Joshua Pacio

Reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, 34, of Matsudo, Chiba, Japan believes that his Filipino rival Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 22, of La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines will become a champion in the future. The two are set to headline at “ONE: Conquest of Heroes” at the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia on September 22, 2018.

“I have a lot of respect for Joshua Pacio,” Pacio stated. “He is a very talented kid and a great martial artist. I have no doubt that one day, he will be champion but that day hasn’t arrived yet.”

“Right now, it’s my time,” the reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion added. “He will have his chance, but I am in the best condition of my career and I fully expect to walk out of the arena this Saturday the winner, with title fully intact. He has improved immensely in the two years since we last met in the cage, but so have I.”

The “ONE: Conquest of Heroes” main event is a rematch between Naito and Pacio. During the first encounter at “ONE: State of Warriors” at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar on October 7, 2016, the Filipino challenger failed to dethrone the Japanese champ.

Pacio is training at Team Lakay in La Trinidad. He had his faceoff with Naito at the “ONE: Conquest of Heroes” media open workout at the Jakarta Muaythai & MMA Gym in Jakarta on September 20, 2018.

“I am a much more complete martial artist now than ever before,” Naito declared. “This will be an exciting bout for sure, but one that I will come out of still champion.”

Naito is one of the most successful martial artists to ever emerge from Japan. Since his professional mixed martial arts debut in 2012, he conquered the notoriously competitive Japanese martial arts scene, capturing the Shooto Flyweight Title.

The Matsudo native has captured the ONE Strawweight World Championship on two occasions since making his ONE Championship debut in 2016, defeating former champions Dejdamrong “Kru Rong” Sor Amnuaysirichoke, 39, of Trang, Thailand and Alex “Little Rock” Silva, 35, of Ubatuba, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Here is a clip featuring highlights of Naito’s ONE Championship bouts:

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