Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 24, of the Philippines has been reigning as the champion of ONE Championship strawweight division since September 22, 2018. One of the top contenders in the division is his teammate Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang, 27.
Pacio and Adiwang are training at Team Lakay in La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines. They are among the top proteges of the team’s founder Mark “The Machine” Sangiao, 41.
Adiwang is not ruling out a showdown with Pacio. However, the former prefers to avoid it if necessary and instead looks to take out any top contenders to boost his stock.
“My personal goal is to be known as one of the best fighters in the division,” Adiwang shared. “Of course, I want to eventually compete for a world title. It’s every athlete’s dream to become a world champion.”
What Adiwang wants to do is to take on ONE Championship’s best talents and former world champions. By doing this, he will not only get the opportunity to raise his profile as one of the best in the world but also gain valuable experience to further his career.
“While it will ultimately depend on ONE Championship, I still prefer not to face Joshua Pacio as much as possible,” Adiwang said. “I want to avoid that.”
“Instead, I want the top guys in the division,” Adiwang continued. “Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke, Yoshitaka Naito, Alex Silva, Yosuke Saruta, these are all great matchups for me and challenges I’m willing to face. I just want to face the best and prove myself.”
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Looking for the biggest and best challenges, Adiwang said it is not just the strawweights that he should watch out. One man he sets his sights on is former UFC Flyweight Champion and ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, 33, of the United States.
“If Joshua still has the belt in the next couple of years, I have no issues moving up to flyweight to take on challenges there,” Adiwang said. “There’s a lot of great talent in that division that I wouldn’t mind testing myself against but we’ll cross the bridge when we get there.”
Johnson is slated to face reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes, 31, of Brazil sometime this year and Adiwang has no qualms about potentially being first in line to face Johnson should he win the belt. The Team Lakay fighter admitted, “That would be a dream come true for me.”
“Demetrious Johnson is the best in the world right now, in my opinion and I’ve dreamed of facing him since I started my career,” Adiwang continued. “Before, that was just an impossible dream but now that he’s with ONE Championship, it’s closer to reality.”