With a roster packed with the best martial artists in Asia and the world, ONE Championship’s athletes all have one thing in common. They truly embody the prized martial arts values such as integrity, honor, humility, respect, courage, discipline, and compassion
As the organization holds these principles so dear at its core, its beloved heroes showcase these admirable traits in every aspect of their lives, both in and out of the cage, inspiring numerous fans across the globe.
For a martial arts phenom such as Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, these values have played a pivotal factor in shaping his character as an athlete and as a person since the beginning of his professional career.
The reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion shared that there are two specific qualities that he has developed during his martial arts journey— humility and compassion.
“Being humble means keeping your feet on the ground no matter what,” Pacio explained. “It is very easy for success to get to your head, but you should always respect your opponents and thank them for every experience you share with them inside the cage.
“At the end of the day, every experience is a learning experience, and you have to be humble enough to recognize that.”
In a short period of time, Pacio has shot up ONE Championship’s strawweight ranks like a speeding bullet.
He made his promotional debut in April 2016, and he won his first contest in spectacular fashion, defeating Rabin Catalan via second-round stoppage.
Pacio built on that by submitting Kritsada Kongsrichai via rear-naked choke in the first round four months later.
His astonishing conquest of Kongsrichai earned him a date with ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito at ONE: STATE OF WARRIORS in October of the same year.
Despite using his striking to great effect in the first two stanzas of the title tiff, Pacio would ultimately bow to Naito’s rear-naked choke in the third round.
The 22-year-old native of Baguio City, Philippines may have tasted his first career blemish, but the experience forced him to acknowledge his own shortcomings as a competitor.
“That loss taught me more about myself than any of my victories,” he bared. “Winning feels good, but being given the opportunity to discover my weaknesses, that was invaluable. Now, I’ve learned and grown so much. I am a completely different fighter.”
Ever since experiencing his first setback, Pacio has worked his way up to the apex of his weight class by winning five of his last six outings under the ONE Championship banner, including a unanimous decision victory over Naito in a rematch at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES last September to capture the gold-plated strap.
After claiming the ONE Strawweight World Championship, Pacio expressed his commitment to use his stature as a source of inspiration to his countrymen.
“In our position, as global athletes, we have a lot of influence. I want to be a compassionate athlete. I want to show the people that I care beyond the ring or the cage,” he mentioned.
Pacio returns to action on 19 January, expecting another difficult test as he shares the cage with Japanese rival Hayato Suzuki once again.
Both men are slated to collide for the ONE Strawweight World Championship in the main event of ONE: ETERNAL GLORY, which emanates from the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Even though he is coming off the biggest win of his mixed martial arts stint, Pacio knows that his first defense of the ONE Strawweight World Title will be no walk in the park.
The two initially crossed paths at ONE: KINGS & CONQUERORS in August 2017, with the Filipino dynamo succumbing to the crafty grappling wizard from Saitama, Japan by way of first-round submission.
“Suzuki is more explosive than Naito, and he has more power. I have to work double on my strength and conditioning to enhance my endurance. He’s an aggressive martial artist who never stops until he gets your back,” he said.
“I should never give my back and work on my takedown defense. I have to set up my strikes more properly, so I can prevent him from taking me to the ground.”
With a month left before their highly-anticipated second encounter, Pacio believes that he has finally discovered the formula in solving Suzuki’s puzzling style as a martial artist.
“I think his game plan and technique are one-dimensional. He does the same things repetitively,” he assessed. “He always looks to take the back and go for a rear-naked choke.”
“I know that I am ready. I’ve waited for this moment to come. It’s time to settle the score.”