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Joshua Pacio's First Interview As ONE Strawweight World Champion

History was made at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES as Joshua “The Passion” Pacio dethroned Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito to claim the ONE Strawweight World TItle.

New ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio breaks down his epic win over Yoshitaka Naito

New ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio breaks down his epic win over Yoshitaka Naito! Download the ONE Super App now 👉 http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp

Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, September 22, 2018

In a rematch of their first World Title bout from 2016 – which Naito won via third-round submission – the Filipino sensation won redemption and leveled their series by earning a unanimous decision after five rounds.

In his first interview after he had the belt thrown over his shoulder, Pacio told ONE Championship commentator Michael Schiavello it was no surprise that he had to battle for all five rounds against the Japanese warrior.

“Yeah, I expected to go the distance, because Naito is a legend. He is very tough, and I’ve never seen him lose by knockout or submission,” he said.

Filipino fans may have anticipated a stoppage at one stage, as the 22-year-old took Naito’s back and threatened with his patented “Passion Lock” submission.

However, as he had predicted in the days before the contest, the defending World Champion’s ground-game expertise meant he was wise to the move, and managed to avoid becoming a permanent fixture on his opponent’s highlight reel.

“You know, it’s hard. He knows how to defend it well. He watched my last bout, so he was ready for it,” Pacio adds.

“I was thinking about a new submission, but I didn’t pull it off this time.”

The Philippines has another World Champion! 🇵🇭

The Philippines has another World Champion! 🇵🇭Download the ONE Super App now 👉 http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp

Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, September 23, 2018

It was far from an overwhelming victory, as Naito remained competitive throughout the contest. Though “The Passion’s” takedown defense was often on point, he still ended up in some bad positions and had to compete hard to stay ahead on the scorecards.

He explained weeks of diligent preparation with his training partners at Team Lakay, and how they prepared him for the task of surviving against the man from The Paraestra Matsudo gym.

“Yeah he could take me down, but he had a hard time passing my guard,” Pacio says.

“In the gym, when we were rolling, even kuya (brotherGeje (Eustaqio, teammate and ONE Flyweight World Champion) had a hard time [with me] on the ground.

“I think in the last seconds of the third round he had me in the full mount – and I felt nervous.”

By capturing the ONE Strawweight World Title, Pacio became the third member of Baguio City’s Team Lakay to win a World Title in 2018 alone – following the successes of Eustaquio and Kevin Belingon, who struck interim bantamweight gold.

Joshua Pacio has a special message for his fans after last night's World Title victory!

Joshua Pacio has a special message for his fans after last night's World Title victory!Download the ONE Super App now 👉 http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp

Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, September 23, 2018

Pacio reiterated his hope that the gym’s success can act as a ray of hope. Particularly, for the less fortunate citizens of their hometown, who have been hit by the effects of Typhoon Mangkhut, which struck the Philippines in recent weeks.

“I trained hard for this. I have had my ups and downs to get this title belt – just like Baguio City,” he explains.

“This time, [Baguio] has its down. I know a lot of families are very down, but I’m telling you, Baguio City is going to rise up again as well.”