The Philippines currently has six reigning world champions in mixed martial arts. Among them, the youngest one is ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 22, who is currently studying at the University of the Cordilleras in Baguio City.
“Thank you everyone for all the support and prayers,” Pacio said during the Team Lakay champions parade on December 2, 2018 in Baguio City. “It’s a happy time in Baguio City where we can celebrate all our victories as one. This isn’t just our triumphs but also the triumph of the entire Cordilleras.”
Including Pacio, five of the Filipino reigning MMA world champions represent Team Lakay and they were all present during the parade. The other four are ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, 35, ONE Bantamweight World Champion Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, 31, ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, 29, and Brave Combat Federation Bantamweight Champion Stephen “The Sniper” Loman, 23.
“This year, we proved that the Philippines is world-class in martial arts,” Pacio declared. “Next year, we plan to do the same again.”
The sixth Filipino reigning MMA world champion not from Team Lakay is also a ONE Championship athlete. He is ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera, 41, who founded the Alliance MMA Gym in 2007.
“We pour in all the hard work, to improve and to keep getting better,” Pacio said. “We train during holidays, weekends and sacrifice so much to bring glory to our country and to our city but we could never have any success without your love and support.”
Pacio is the fifth ONE Championship athlete to hold the ONE Strawweight World Championship title. He has been holding the belt since September 22, 2018 when he dethroned former champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, 34, of Japan.
Naito held the title twice, first in 2016 and in 2018. The other two former champions in the strawweight division of ONE Championship are Dejdamrong “Kru Rong” Sor Amnuaysirichoke, 40, of Thailand and Alex “Little Rock” Silva, 36, of Brazil.
Meanwhile, here is a recent interview with Pacio: