Reigning ONE strawweight champion Joshua Pacio bared his future plans Sunday with the intent to defend the belt as many times as possible in 2021 and for the years to come.
Speaking to the Manila Bulletin, Pacio said he has no plans to leave the strawweight division anytime soon, paving the way for his teammates Geje Eustaquio and Danny Kingad to thrive in flyweight.
“I think my teammates are in there. Dalawa na sila roon. My brothers — si kuya Geje at si kuya Danny. So that’s their division,” said the 25-year-old Pacio. “I think this is my division at sa kanila ‘yun. Wala na akong balak na umangat pa ng division.”
One of the possible scenarios in the strawweight soon is a matchup between Pacio and Lito Adiwang, who plans to return in the Top 5 after being booted out last November with a loss from Japanese Hiroba Minowa.
Adiwang, in previous interviews, said he plans to take on the top fighters in the division first such as former Japanese champions Yoshitaka Naito and Yosuke Saruta en route for the No. 1 seat before taking into consideration a fight with Pacio.
Pacio, for his part, gladly welcomed all the possible challengers coming for the belt but has set sights for a possible trilogy with Saruta.
Pacio last saw action in the Circle with a split decision win and a successful title defense against former champion Alex Silva of Brazil in ONE: Fire & Fury last January.
Since the coronavirus pandemic froze sporting events last March, Pacio has spent a year of training in Team Lakay’s Central Gym in Benguet to show a “better version” come his next bout.
“I think nag-grow din ako maturely sa training,” added the Igorot warrior, who holds a 17-3 record. “I think confidence sa ground game na kapag grappler ang kalaban, kailangan ‘di ako ma-take down at ‘di lang tayo doon sa striking para ‘di tayo mahuli.”