On September 15, 2018, Typhoon Mangkhut, locally named Ompong, killed several people in Itogon, Benguet. On September 22, 2018, Igorot mixed martial arts star Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 22, was crowned the new ONE Strawweight World Champion “ONE: Conquest of Heroes” and dedicated his victory to the victims of the typhoon.
Representing Team Lakay of Baguio City, Philippines, Pacio had his rematch with Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, 34, of Matsudo, Chiba, Japan in the main event of “ONE: Conquest of Heroes” at the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia. The Team Lakay warrior won via unanimous decision, earning his seventh victory in ONE Championship.
“Last week, typhoons struck Baguio City, Benguet, and the Cordilleras,” Pacio told Mitch “The Dragon” Chilson during the post-bout interview in the cage. “A lot of places were hit hard. Many people died and some are still missing. This is for all of them. I know that the Cordilleras will come back and rise again soon as one.”
During the post-bout press conference backstage, Pacio continued to show solidarity with his brothers and sisters from the Cordillera Region. He said, “This bout is really for those who were severely affected by the typhoon in Baguio.”
“In the municipality of Itogon, that’s where a lot of my family is,” Pacio continued. “A lot of my cousins are there and thank God that none of them were hit hard. However, we do know a lot of people who were badly affected and still trying to recover from this.”
“My heart goes out to all of them,” the reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion added. “This championship is for them.”
It was the third world championship win in 2018 for Team Lakay, as Pacio joined the likes of reigning ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion Kevin Belingon and undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje Eustaquio.
Meanwhile, here is a short interview with Pacio months before he was crowned the new ONE Strawweight World Champion: