Asia

Why is Team Lakay’s Joshua Pacio always in the gym?

Joshua Pacio (© ONE Championship)

Joshua Pacio [center] (© ONE Championship)

Reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 23, is training out of the Team Lakay gym in La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines. Founded by Mark “The Machine” Sangiao, the gym believes that champions like Pacio are made not born.

“As the reigning champion, there’s a lot of responsibility on my shoulders,” Pacio said. “That’s why I’m always in the gym working on my craft. I enjoy the process of training, the process of getting better and even doing media.”

“I love talking to people and engaging with fans,” the Igorot mixed martial arts star continued. “I’m having so much fun and I can say martial arts is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Pacio attributes his improvement to the lessons he learned in 2019. On January 19, 2019, he lost the ONE Strawweight World Championship belt to Yosuke Saruta of Japan at “ONE: Eternal Glory” at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.

After succumbing to Saruta, Pacio was hungry and motivated to reclaim his title. The Team Lakay representative did just that in a rematch at “ONE: Roots of Honor” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines on April 12, 2019.

In the rematch, Pacio knocked out Saruta via head kick. When the Filipino champion returned to the SM Mall of Asia Arena at “ONE: Masters of Fate” on November 8, 2019, he successfully defended the title from his countryman Rene “The Challenger” Catalan, 41, via arm-triangle choke submission.

“I learned a lot this year and I’m really happy with my progress,” Pacio said in 2019. “Obviously, I lost the bout early in January and that was pretty painful but I’m also grateful for that experience because it showed me areas of weakness that I needed to improve on. I worked hard to get where I’m at and we saw those improvements in April and November.”

Being at the top of the division, Pacio knows everyone is gunning to take his spot so he is always ready to go and formidable, willing to face anyone who steps up to the plate. On January 31, 2019, he will go back to the SM Mall of Asia Arena to defend his ONE Strawweight World Championship belt at “ONE: Fire and Fury” against Alex “Little Rock” Silva, 37, of Ubatuba, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Silva is training out of Evolve MMA in Singapore. He is a former ONE Strawweight World Champion himself and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion.

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