“Being world champion isn’t easy” - Joshua Pacio will fight to keep ONE strawweight gold

Joshua Pacio already feels the pressure ahead of his 4th strawweight world title defense against Jarred Brooks. | Photos by ONE Championship
Joshua Pacio (left) already feels the pressure ahead of his 4th strawweight world title defense | Photos by ONE Championship

ONE strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio knows what it’s like to fight with the weight of an entire country on his back.

Two years after ONE’s fight card that took place on his home turf, ‘The Passion’ will once again look to put on a show in front of his countrymen when he takes on brash challenger Jarred ‘The Monkey God’ Brooks in the main event of ONE 164 on December 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Philippines, of course, is home to some of the most passionate combat sports fans in the world. Considering it’s been a while since they last saw their hero live in action, Joshua Pacio already feels the immense pressure that comes from his upcoming title defense.

In an interview with ONE, the 26-year-old wushu specialist stated:

“You know, this belt is very important to me. And it’s very important to the Philippines. Being world champion isn’t easy because the very best fighters are coming after you. It wasn’t easy to get, and it certainly isn’t easy to keep. Me and my entire team have worked hard for it.”

He added:

“I will do everything I can to win this fight and bring the belt back home to Baguio City.”

Joshua Pacio does carry the burden of being the lone remaining champion out of the famed Team Lakay stable.

It feels like a lifetime ago when Filipino fighters dominated the promotion, with the likes of Pacio, Brandon Vera, Eduard Folayang, Geje Eustaquio, and Kevin Belingon all carrying ONE world titles on their shoulders at one point in time.

Pacio, of course, has no plans of relinquishing his gold strap anytime soon. However, he’ll be up for the biggest challenge yet against the formidable Jarred Books.

Joshua Pacio is shoring up his grappling ahead of Jarred Brooks fight

Joshua Pacio is well aware of the dangers Jarred Brooks possesses, particularly in his elite wrestling.

‘The Monkey God’ has been able to ragdoll all three of his opponents inside the circle so far, overwhelming the likes of Lito Adiwang, Hiroba Minowa, and Bokang Masunyane with his top-heavy game.

‘The Passion,’ however, said he also has some tricks up his sleeve for the American challenger.

He told ONE:

“Since the Yosuke Saruta fight, I’ve really made it a point to level up my wrestling and my grappling. That’s where I’ve concentrated on improving, and drilling. My techniques are on point now and I think the new skills are going to show on December 3rd. He’s a great wrestler, but I’ll be able to handle him.”

Team Lakay’s shortcomings in the grappling department have been well documented in the past. It’s often considered their achilles heel.

The ONE strawweight king, however, has made significant strides in that area and is no slouch when the fight hits the ground. Eight of Pacio’s 22 career wins have come by submission, with the latest victory coming by an impressive arm-triangle choke against Rene Catalan in 2019.

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Edited by Allan Mathew
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