Joshua “The Passion” Pacio of Baguio City, Philippines had a phenomenal year in ONE Championship in 2018, but he says 2019 will be even better.
The 22-year-old martial arts prodigy competed three times in 2018. He scored two quick submission victories – including the ONE Championship Submission Of The Year – and then notched the biggest win of his career by defeating Yoshitaka Naito to capture the undisputed ONE Strawweight World Title.
Despite his defining achievement, Pacio is committed to continuing his success and exceeding what he has done so far to make his country proud and maintain Team Lakay’s success.
Is there any submission Joshua Pacio can't do?Jakarta | 19 January | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneglory19
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, December 29, 2018
“For me, 2018 has been absolutely amazing, especially for our team, but it’s only the beginning. I’m still young, hungry and determined, despite having the belt around my waist,” said Pacio.
“My main goal, of course, is to defend my title to the best of my ability. Right now, I’m set to defend my title against another tough Japanese opponent in Yosuke Saruta.
“Getting through that will be the first step. I’m still evolving and developing as an athlete. I don’t think the world has seen the best of Joshua Pacio yet.”
Apart from capturing his belt last September, Pacio is also extremely proud of claiming Submission Of The Year honors for his handiwork against Thailand’s Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit.
Pacio submitted the Thai star with a modified hammerlock that he fondly dubbed the “Passion Lock.” The name quickly caught on as the video of the submission went viral on social media.
It was also a testament to the hard work the Filipino and his teammates have put in to fix a perceived weakness in their abilities.
“It was a privilege to be nominated for the award, but it was an even bigger blessing to be able to win the award,” said Pacio.
“It’s not about just being proud of the submission, but also proof of the hard work that we have put in. We drill many submissions and many situations on the ground.
“A lot of people said in the past that Team Lakay has no ground game. We worked very hard to change that, despite our meager resources. Like we love to say, it’s not Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It’s Baguio Jiu-Jitsu.”
Despite Pacio’s success in 2018, he wasn’t without challenges, but “The Passion’s” complete dedication to his craft and the amazing support system that rallied behind him took him to the top.
At one stretch during his preparations for the World Title rematch with Naito, Pacio had to deal with the elements as a series of storms struck Baguio City. Roads in and out of the city were inaccessible, and lower areas were riddled with flash floods.
The building where the humble Team Lakay gym is located lost power due to a transformer surge, and “The Passion” had to spend a week training in pitch darkness as he prepared for the biggest bout of his career.
Joshua Pacio's inspirational rise to the top ⤵Jakarta | 19 January | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneglory19
Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, December 25, 2018
“It came at the worst possible time,” Pacio explains with a laugh.
“I was deep in training for Naito, for the biggest fight of my career, for the ONE Strawweight World Championship, and I was battling mother nature at the same time.
“But, just like coach Mark [Sangiao] taught us, we have to adapt. So we powered through it, training in inclement weather, both indoors and outdoors. Whether it was raining or not, we pushed through. We knew that we couldn’t let it affect our training camp, so we didn’t allow it to. For me, the World Title is a representation all our hard work, dedication and perseverance.”
His commitment has continued since then. He has barely paused over the holiday season to make sure he is ready for what should be another incredible challenge in ONE’s first event of 2019.
Pacio plans to use the lessons he learned from his experiences in 2018 to carry his momentum into the new year at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia on 19 January.
Will Joshua Pacio keep Team Lakay's ???? streak going in 2019?Jakarta | 19 January | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneglory19
Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, December 23, 2018
“This is my chance to prove that I deserve the golden strap. It belongs here in the Philippines. I will defend it with faith and hard work,” Pacio says.
“That goes for the rest of the team. Our dedication and love for this sport allows us to do amazing things. We find ways to train through anything. Even though we don’t have fancy gym equipment, or the latest in technology, or even nutritionists, we still manage to succeed with good old fashioned hard work.
“We research, study, and learn. We adapt, and we apply. I am so proud to be a part of Team Lakay and to represent my country on the global stage of ONE Championship. I will do everything I can to keep the title.”