Reigning ONE strawweight champion Joshua Pacio has set sights on a trilogy bout once more with another Japanese, this time against No. 2 contender Yoshitaka Naito.
After closing the chapter with his fabled rivalry against Yosuke Saruta, Pacio said it would be great to have another trilogy match against Naito.
The 25-year-old Pacio is just one call away and if ONE Championship declares the fight, he will be ready.
Pacio first suffered defeat at the hands of Naito via rear-naked choke in the third round of their bout last October 2016.
The Team Lakay stalwart hit two birds with one stone two years later in September 2019, when he avenged his loss via unanimous decision and dethroned the Japanese veteran.
Saruta then stripped of Pacio’s belt as early as January 2019 before the Igorot warrior returned the favor three months later in April of the same year with a fourth-round knockout victory.
“It’s good because these guys are here in the division for a long time. He (Naito) is the No. 2 contender in my division so he deserves it (title shot),” said Pacio, who improved to 20-3 record. “If not, maybe Naito and Bokang [Masunyane] will fight and whoever wins gets that title shot.”
It would be recalled that Masunyane, now the No. 3 in the strawweight division, called out the Team Lakay champion after knocking out Filipino fighter Rene Catalan in the first round last December.
“It depends to ONE Championship. To me, my job is to stay ready and my job is to level up every day. When ONE Championship calls, I’m ready,” added Pacio.