Asian MMA

Get to Know Joshua Pacio

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Joshua “The Passion” Pacio may only be 24-years-old, but the Filipino has already ascended to the top of his weight class. The ONE Strawweight World Champion has shown excellent, well-rounded skills and bout-ending abilities.

But how did he get here? Where did this journey begin?

Let’s take a trip back to follow Pacio’s rise from a Filipino prospect to the top of the strawweight division in ONE Championship. It’s time to get to know Joshua Pacio.

A Filipino Prospect

Before making his way onto the global stage of ONE Championship, Pacio worked his way up the ranks on the regional circuit – including multiple bouts on events organized by his team, Team Lakay.

His first bout was in December of 2013, and after the victory, he did not compete again until March of 2015. He was active in 2015 with three professional bouts before having an even more impactful 2016.

“The Passion” went 7-0 with seven finishes to showcase his growing skillset and high ceiling.

The quick start made him one of the Philippines’ top prospects and made him a hot commodity for ONE.

Working Up the Ladder

After three bouts earlier in the year, Pacio made his ONE debut at ONE: Global Rivals in April 2016. It was a second-round TKO performance over Rabin Catalan.

After another win, Pacio competed for the sixth time in 2016, where he would suffer his first loss against divisional champion Yoshitaka Naito at ONE: State of Warriors. Pacio split his next two encounters to move to 10-2 overall.

At ONE: Legends of the World, the Filipino made a major statement and began his pathway to the ONE Strawweight World Championship with a spinning back fist KO over Roy Doliguez. The highlight reel shot put Pacio on the map as a significant threat.

In 2018, “The Passion” earned his title shot with back-to-back victories over Ming Qiang Lan and Pongsiri Mitsatit.

The victories set the stage for a major rematch with Naito, where Pacio could erase his first-career defeat.

Facing Adversity Like A Champion

After the scorecards were read at ONE: Conquest of Heroes, Pacio avenged his defeat and captured the ONE Strawweight World Championship. However, the glory would be short-lived.

Yosuke Saruta would earn a split-decision victory in Pacio’s first title defense at ONE: Eternal Glory.

The Team Lakay star faced the adversity like a true champion and got right back on the horse. Three months later, they rematched in a fun battle at ONE: Roots of Honor. In the fourth round, Pacio scored with a head kick knockout for the ages to recapture his crown.

Rene Catalan was next for the Filipino warrior, and in under three rounds, he made the first successful title defense of his career. Pacio followed it with a narrow split-decision over former champion Alex Silva.

The Team Lakay standout stands atop the ONE strawweight division and a growing presence as one of the world’s top stars. “The Passion” has earned everything that he has gotten and is a ca n’t-miss athlete when the 2020 slate resumes.

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Jeremy Brand is an experienced MMA writer and columnist. He is the founder of, and has represented the company with media credentials at many mixed martial arts fights. Jeremy is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training in BC, Canada.

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