Jeremy Pacatiw knows that he has still a long road to travel before reaching the top of ONE Championship’s bantamweight division.
But if he has the choice to pick his next opponent, the Team Lakay stalwart would like to test his gears against No. 1 contender John Lineker, a former UFC veteran who knocked out his senior Kevin Belingon.
“Siguro ang gusto kong subukan si Lineker,” said Pacatiw, who won his promotional debut against China’s Chen Rui last July 30 in ONE: Battleground, during an online media availability Wednesday, Aug. 4.
“Nakita ko ‘yung talagang pag-handle, ‘yong pressure niya [sa kalaban]. Talagang ‘Hands of Stone.’ Gusto kong siguro, ‘pag technique ko don sa laban ko sa kanya siguro baka medyo mahihirapan siya.”
The 25-year-old Igorot warrior just made a good first impression after scoring a convincing unanimous decision win against Rui.
That said, the bantamweight remains one of the stacked divisions in the Singapore-based promotion.
Lineker, for his part, stunned Belingon, ranked No. 2, last November. The former UFC veteran followed up the win with another knockout win against Troy Worther last April.
And Pacatiw will face a tough hurdle ahead given the elite fighters in the promotion.
“Pero tignan natin kung ibibigay nila (ONE). But I need to be on the top,” said Pacatiw, who holds an 11-4 record.
Completing the bantamweight division’s Top 5 are current world champion Bibiano Fernandes, Lineker, and Fabricio Andrade (No. 4) of Brazil, Yusup Saadulaev of Russia (No. 3), Shoko Sato of Japan (No. 5), and Belingon.
Aside from Pacatiw, Stephen Loman, the longest reigning champion in BRAVE Combat Federation, and Jhanlo Sangiao, son of Team Lakay coach Mark, will also see action in the bantamweight division.
Loman was supposed to face Lineker last April but was scrapped due to COVID-19 concerns.