ONE: Joshua Pacio more than ready for ‘biggest challenge’ of his career
MANILA, Philippines — Joshua Pacio admits that his upcoming title defense against Jarred Brooks is the “biggest challenge” of his entire career but he is out to prove himself to the world in the main event of ONE 164 on December 3 at Mall of Asia Arena.
Pacio has consistently dominated ONE’s strawweight division, winning three straight defenses since regaining his world title in April 2019, but he is well aware of the danger a fighter like Brooks brings.
“This is my fourth title defense and to be honest this is the biggest challenge in my entire career. We all know the caliber of Jarred Brooks. But in this situation, I want to show my growth as an MMA fighter and a new version of myself,” said Pacio during Team Lakay’s virtual media availability.
“I was one hundred percent ready when our June 3rd fight was postponed. But it’s also a blessing in disguise since I had more preparation and time to improve my game and be a well-rounded MMA athlete,” he added.
Beating a high-level fighter like Brooks, who fought in the UFC and Bellator to name a few, would be a shocker for the Mixed Martial Arts community.
But for the reigning ONE strawweight champion, a victory won’t be a surprise after all the hard work he has put through for ONE Championship’s first event in Manila in this pandemic era.
“If I beat him it would be a huge surprise for the MMA world. I can imagine that a lot of people will be surprised. But for me and my team, it won’t be a surprise. Because we all know the hard work and sacrifices we’ve been through for how many months of preparation,” said Pacio, who owns a 20-3 record.
“I’m not looking for a KO but if there’s an opportunity, I will get it. You will see a different Joshua Pacio.”
Amid the mind games from Brooks, the 26-year-old Filipino is simply focused on silencing the American, who holds a 19-2 card.
“I’m not thinking of whoever is the favorite. I’m also not into his trash-talking and the way he promotes our fight. I just want to enter the circle and show a Joshua Pacio you haven’t seen before. I will bring my fighting spirit and training. I will win,” Pacio said.
The Baguio City native, who last fought in September 2021 when he ended his trilogy with Yosuke Saruta with a first-round TKO, is about to show his home country the fruit of his labor after a long wait from the postponement, where he even had a chance to coach aspiring Filipino fighters in ONE Warrior Series.
“I grew a lot as an MMA athlete. We trained hard and smart. We worked triple time. My knowledge of the sport also improved after my experience in ONE Warrior Series. Expect a better performance from me compared to my last outing,” Pacio said.