Joshua Pacio is eager to take on the “biggest challenge of his career” yet when he defends his ONE strawweight title against top-ranked Joshua Pacio in ONE: 164 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Joshua Pacio (ONE Championship)

Facing the home crowd after more than two years, Pacio is all fueled heading into the match as four of his teammates in Team Lakay, namely Danny Kingad, Geje Eustaquio, Jeremy Pacatiw, and Jenelyn Olsim, also join him take centerstage and bring out a classic fight night.

“Nakaka-excite kasi bumalik na ‘yong dati. ‘Yong resulta is 5-0, ibabalik natin ‘yon,” said a confident Pacio. “To be honest, heto ‘yong biggest challenge sa entire career ko. Alam naman natin ‘yong caliber ni Jarred Brooks.

“Itong mga situations na ‘to, di nag-grow ang isang martial artist. I promise ipapakita ko kung paano ako nag-grow as a mixed martial artist. Makikita niyo sa December 3,” added the reigning strawweight champion.

Pacio, who holds a masterful 19-3 record, last saw action in September 2021 with a first-round technical knockout win over Japanese rival Yosuke Saruta.

His win against Saruta in the trilogy concluded their fabled rivalry which eventually paved the way for Brooks to enter the strawweight picture.

Brooks, for his part, had taken down the likes of Lito Adiwang, Pacio’s teammate, Hiroba Minowa, and Bokang Masunyane, to remain undefeated since moving to the Singapore-based promotion.

The slight difference between their records is that Brooks, who used to contend in the UFC, only have two losses on top of 19 wins.

Still, Pacio is confident heading into the match and believes that he will reach his peak soon with only a month remaining in the training camp.

In the next two weeks, the remaining Filipino MMA champion said he would reach his peak form and be fully ready come Dec. 3.

Adiwang facing Brooks is also one advantage for Pacio and his camp has prepared a special game plan for the American contender.

“I think there’s a rason kung bakit I am the champion of this division,” said the 26-year-old Pacio. “That’s the thing, ‘yong mga advantage ko. Nasubukan na ni Lito makalaban siya and kung baga hindi na bago ‘yong style niya (Brooks). We review it all over again, lahat ng mga laban ni Jarred Brooks.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (