Joshua “The Passion” Pacio has the perfect opportunity to recapture the World Title in front of his home crowd on Friday, 12 April.
It will be a rematch from their January clash, as the Japanese warrior edged out the Team Lakay standout via split decision to win the belt. But now, with his compatriots supporting him inside the Mall Of Asia Arena, Pacio looks to even the score and reclaim the division’s top prize.
Before he steps back into the cage, learn everything you need to know about “The Passion.”
An Inauspicious Start
Pacio’s childhood was not spent in a stable family environment.
When the Filipino was just 6 years old, his dad relocated to Israel for work, which forced his mother to raise him as a single parent in La Trinidad, Benguet.
“It was hard on her part because she thought that when I grew up, I would have a bad attitude because I had no father,” he explained.
In addition to growing up in a one-parent family, Pacio also battled childhood obesity as a youngster. By the time he was 10, he was clinically overweight.
“At that age, my heaviest weight was 65kg,” he recalled. “When I stood up, I could barely see my feet because my stomach was too big.”
Though he experienced some trials and tribulations during his formative years, it only motivated “The Passion” to become successful and help provide a better life for his family.
A Journey Worth Taking
Heading into Saturday's World Title bout, we look back at Joshua Pacio's top three ONE Championship bouts!Jakarta | 19 January | 6:30PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Facebook: Prelims LIVE | Twitter: Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneglory19
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, January 18, 2019
In a bid to help Pacio lose some weight, his uncle — a former Muay Thai competitor — introduced him to martial arts.
The youngster started training in kickboxing and “the art of eight limbs” when he was 11 years old. By the time he turned 13, he switched his focus to wushu, and even competed at the 2010 Wushu Nationals one year later.
“Martial arts changed my life in attitude, in health, and in discipline,” he said.
“It has affected my attitude to be disciplined. Martial arts also served as my father because it taught me a lot of lessons.”
Also, martial arts brought another strong male role model into Pacio’s life.
In 2013, he attended the University Of The Cordilleras, where he competed for the school’s wushu squad under its head coach and Team Lakay mastermind, Mark Sangiao.
Under Sangiao’s tutelage, “The Passion” progressed rapidly as a wushu athlete and eventually transitioned to mixed martial arts.
A Mother’s Impact
Joshua Pacio is on a mission to reclaim his ONE Strawweight World Title! Can the Filipino phenom do it on his home turf on 12 April? ????????Manila | 12 April | 7:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onehonor19
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, March 16, 2019
All throughout his life, Pacio learned from a number of key figures.
However, the person who taught him the most — and continues to be his main source of inspiration — is his mother.
“I love my mom, and you could say I am pretty much a mama’s boy,” he confessed.
“My mom taught me that whatever challenges, problems, or circumstances I may find myself in, that I just have to trust in a higher power.
“I just have to keep the faith in God, put the work in, do what I need to do, and the rest will take care of itself.”
The Filipino is quick to admit his mother was not very supportive of his martial arts endeavors in the very beginning.
However, as Pacio developed, she realized her son’s potential and encouraged him to continue perfecting his craft.
“Even during my amateur days, my mom would constantly push me to train harder because she knew I was capable of anything if I worked hard enough,” he explained.
“This taught me that I can reach my dreams if I put my mind to it, and I still carry that with me into training today.”
Achieving The Dream
Before Joshua Pacio's World Title defense this Saturday, relive his incredible victory for ONE gold!Jakarta | 19 January | 6:30PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Facebook: Prelims LIVE | Twitter: Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneglory19
Posted by ONE Championship on Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Those dreams came true when, after winning his first six professional bouts, he joined ONE Championship in 2016.
Following a pair of stoppage victories, Pacio — who competes at 56.7 kilograms — earned a ONE Strawweight World Championship opportunity against unbeaten titleholder Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito that October.
The Japanese grappler proved to be too experienced for the young contender, as he handed “The Passion” his first professional loss via rear-naked choke.
Pacio went back to the drawing board. He tightened up his grappling at Team Lakay in Baguio City and bounced back in a major way.
After winning four of his next five bouts, he earned a World Title rematch with Naito in September 2018. Between his revamped jiu-jitsu and his elite striking, he defeated the unbeatable Japanese kingpin via unanimous decision to claim the ONE Strawweight World Championship.
The Filipino’s time at the top of the division was short-lived, however, as Saruta dethroned him in a super-competitive World Title match via razor-thin split decision in January.
Now, the pair will battle for the belt once more at ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR on 12 April.
“I’m excited and even more motivated because the rematch will happen here in the Philippines,” Pacio said. “I’m happy for the opportunity, and I will do everything to get the belt back to the Philippines.”