Facing a champion with over a decade of experience, Joshua Pacio believes he can put up a good fight against reigning strawweight champ Yoshitaka Naito.
[mks_dropcap style=”square” size=”52″ bg_color=”#1588db” txt_color=”#ffffff”]T[/mks_dropcap]he twenty-year-old young gun of Team Lakay admitted that he had mixed emotions when he found out his upcoming fight is a shot at ONE FC’s strawweight title.
Aside from excitement, he said he’s determined to seize the chance to prove his doubters wrong and show everyone that youth is never a hindrance to becoming a champion.
“Siyempre napakasaya. Nakakaproud kasi marerepresent ko hindi lang Cordillera pero ang buong Pilipinas sa larangan ng sport na to,” Pacio told DojoDrifter.com.
“At first, nagulat ako ng malaman ko na title shot ang next fight ko. Pero sinasabi ko sa sarili ko na may mga nagsasabi na ‘bata pa’, hindi pa (ako) hinog, na kelangan ko pa daw ng experience pero sa akin as a twenty-year old guy na lalaban sa title shot at kakalabanin ang isang beterano na isang thirty-two year old, para sa akin blessing at opportunity yun. Siyempre kahit bata ka man pero lahat ng fighters eto yung dream, makalaban sa title at makuha yung belt.”
Going undefeated in his first six professional fights, Joshua Pacio was quickly noticed and he got signed by ONE FC. He went on to made a good account of himself with successive wins over Rabin Catalan and Kritsada Konsrichai that earned him a title shot.
Now, he has the chance to replicate female counterpart Angela Lee’s feat of winning the belt at such an early age, but it won’t be a walk in the park against the Japanese champion.
Reigning king Naito owns an unblemished record in eleven fights throughout his ten-year MMA career, most of which came in Shooto where he held and defended the 115-pound belt. As soon as Naito signed with the Singapore-based promotion, he captured the title from Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke via fourth-round submission.
In spite of his opponent’s credentials, Joshua Pacio remains confident of his chances because he believes that he has the tools that could match-up with the champion wherever the fight will go.
“May unique style siya, may unique style din ako.” He added, “Oo, nauna siya na pumasok ng martial arts pero hindi naman grappling o jiu-jitsu yung laro, MMA naman so para sa akin, gaya ng sabi nila ‘anything can happen’ eh. So it depends kung ano yung situation ng laban sa loob ng cage.”
“Kung standup, ready ako, sa ground, ready ako, wrestling, ready ako kaya pinaigtingan pa namin yung pagpapalakas ng ground game at wrestling.”