Ever since falling short in his bid to capture the ONE Strawweight World Championship title over a year ago, Filipino standout Joshua “The Passion” Pacio was a man on a mission to get a rematch with division kingpin Yoshitaka Naito.
After redeeming himself by notching a split decision victory over former champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke this past March, it seemed that Pacio was one bout away from securing a second encounter with Naito when he faced Hayato Suzuki on the main card of ONE: KINGS & CONQUERORS in August.
However, his hopes to dance once again with Naito inside the ONE Championship cage for the coveted gold-plated strap were derailed as Pacio yielded to Suzuki by first-round submission.
For the 21-year-old native of La Trinidad, Benguet, he is back to square one following his submission setback to Suzuki three months ago.
“That’s the hard part of losing because I have to start over again. A win over Hayato Suzuki could have given me a rematch for the belt, but it is what it is. I just have to move on and work my way up in the rankings once more,” Pacio expressed.
Eager to erase the memory of his loss in August and put himself back on the winning track, Pacio returns to action on 10 November as he squares off with compatriot and fellow ex-title contender Roy “The Dominator” Doliguez on the undercard of ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD, which emanates from the 20,000-seater SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
Pacio guarantees a better version of himself as he crosses paths with a mixed martial arts veteran and a former boxing champion like Doliguez.
“Coming into this bout, I have a renewed confidence now and I am training hard. With the help of my teammates at Team Lakay, I am motivated to show the world that I am worthy to compete on an international stage like ONE Championship,” he stated
“I have dreams of really becoming a world champion in this wonderful sport someday, and I am coming and willing to work for it,” Pacio added.
Now using the moniker “The Passion” due to his ardent desire to improve each day as a martial artist, Pacio knows that having his hand raised in triumph will not be a walk in the park against Doliguez, who vied for the inaugural ONE Strawweight World Championship against Amnuaysirichoke in 2015.
In his most recent bout, Doliguez scored the biggest victory of his professional career, stopping Brazilian stalwart Yago Bryan via third-round knockout last September.
“Obviously, Roy Doliguez has a ton of experience both in the ring and cage. He is strong and very fierce. I will do my best and really show what I have. I will put my best foot forward because I have trained very hard for this fight,” Pacio said about his preparation for his encounter with Doliguez.
As almost everyone in the sport has his or her own shortfalls, Pacio hopes to bounce back on an astounding note and topple Doliguez at ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD.
“I respect an esteemed competitor like Roy Doliguez. I will keep up with him, and I will try to top his toughness and quickness to make this my moment,” he ended.