Given that One Championship is currently the top promotion to host a men’s strawweight division, its current strawweight champion Joshua Pacio may be regarded as the best male strawweight in the world right now.
Nicknamed “The Passion” and hailing out of the dominant Team Lakay of the Philippines, Pacio spent the majority of his childhood without his father, who moved to Israel for work due to the family’s financial struggles. Consequently, Pacio adopted an unhealthy lifestyle and was obese by the age of 10, but thanks to the guidance of his uncle, Pacio turned his life around with martial arts, becoming a multiple-time national champion in wushu before transitioning to mixed martial arts.
Now a world-class fighter, Joshua Pacio boasts an impressive record of 15-3, with two of those losses redeemed in rematches against former champions. Pacio first captured One Championship gold last year at the very young age of 23 and successfully defended his title twice against formidable competition. Intrigued? Then let’s countdown Joshua “The Passion” Pacio’s Top 5 MMA Finishes (in descending order)!
- Vs. Kritsada Kongsrichai — One Championship 45: Heroes of the World (Aug. 13, 2016)
- Vs. Lan Ming Qiang — One Championship: Global Superheroes (Jan. 26, 2018)
- Vs. Pongsiri Mitsatit — One Championship: Reign of Kings (July 27, 2018)
- Vs. Roy Doliguez — One Championship: Legends of the World (Nov. 10, 2017)
- Vs. Yosuke “The Ninja” Saruta — One Championship: Roots of Honor (April 12, 2019)
Having won his One Championship debut, Pacio then faced wrestling expert Kritsada Kongsrichai of Thailand.
Although Kongsrichai dominated Pacio for the majority of the first round, having scored a couple of takedowns and controlling Pacio in the clinch, Pacio managed to escape a full mount from the Thai wrestling specialist, giving Kongsrichai a taste of his own medicine by taking him down.
Having landed in half guard, Pacio successfully went into full mount and proceeded to ground-and-pound, prompting Kongsrichai to turn his back to Pacio. Pacio landed two more punches before sinking in a rear-naked choke to end the bout.
Coming fresh off his highlight-reel knockout of Roy Doliguez via spinning back fist, Joshua Pacio faced Chinese Sanda champion Lan Ming Qiang.
Having tested Lan’s standup for almost 50 seconds, Pacio intercepted a leg kick from Lan and took him to the ground.
From there on, it was all Pacio, who transitioned from side control to full mount. Lan Ming Qiang had zero to little answer to Pacio’s superior ground game. After pummelling Lan with ground-and-pound and attempting a D’arce choke (which Lan miraculously escaped) Pacio eventually finished things off with a rear-naked-choke.
After defeating Sanda champion Lan Ming Qiang, Pacio then faced the undefeated Thai fighter Pongsiri Mitsatit out of team Tiger Muay Thai.
Pacio was quick to intercept a leg kick from Pongsiri and take him to the ground, having immediately transitioned from side control to full mount, where Pacio stayed for the majority of the fight.
The Thai adversary couldn’t handle Pacio’s ground game, allowing Pacio to rain ground and pound yet again. Pongsiri eventually scrambled out of the full mount, but Pacio took Pongsiri’s back and creatively submitted Pongsiri with a slick hammerlock, or in the words of commentator Mitch “The Dragon” Chilson, “a rear-naked chicken wing.”
Pacio faced former professional boxing champion Roy Doliguez on November 10, 2017. According to the tale of the tape, Doliguez had the striking advantage, but the bout itself told a different narrative, as Pacio landed 3 high roundhouse kicks on Doliguez in the first 35 seconds of the contest.
The remainder of the first round consisted of Pacio scoring two takedowns, controlling Doliguez on the ground and attempting a guillotine choke as well as a kimura in closed guard.
In the second round, Doliguez tried to get into boxing range, but Pacio kept him within kickboxing range with roundhouse-kick-to-spinning back fist combinations.
Pacio’s third combo proved a charm, as he knocked Doliguez down with a spinning back fist, prompting referee Kemp Cheng to call the fight at 38 seconds of the second round.
After failing to capture the One strawweight title against Yosuke Saruta, Joshua Pacio was immediately scheduled a rematch against Saruta for a second shot at the title.
Although Saruta successfully took Pacio down and had also knocked him down with a punch in the first round, the remainder of the fight was a Joshua Pacio tour de force.
Pacio kept the fight on the feet, winning most of the striking exchanges against Saruta with his weapons of choice usually being punches, round kicks or spinning back kicks.
In the fourth round, Pacio feinted, which caused Saruta to freeze up momentarily, with Pacio then using that window of opportunity to land a round kick to the head that shook Saruta’s lights out. He stumbled onto the canvas face down. With this victory, Pacio kept Team Lakay in the realm of champions and became the new strawweight world champion.