Joshua Pacio will get his second crack at Yoshita Naito and the strawweight title this Saturday in the main event of ONE: Conquest of Heroes.
The event takes place from the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia, airing live in the U.S. via internet pay-per-view.
Naito is one of the most successful martial artists to ever emerge from Japan. In just four short years since debuting in 2012, Naito conquered the notoriously competitive Japanese martial arts scene, capturing the Shooto Flyweight Title.
Since making his ONE Championship debut in 2016, Naito has captured the ONE Strawweight World Championship on two occasions, defeating former champions Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke and Alex Silva.
“I have a lot of respect for Joshua Pacio, he is a very talented kid and a great martial artist,” Naito said. “I have no doubt that one day, he will be champion. But that day hasn’t arrived yet. Right now, it’s my time. He will have his chance, but I am in the best condition of my career and I fully expect to walk out of the arena this Saturday the winner, with title fully intact. He has improved immensely in the two years since we last met in the cage, but so have I.
“I am a much more complete martial artist now than ever before. This will be an exciting bout for sure, but one that I will come out of still champion.”
Pacio of Baguio City, Philippines was inspired to take up martial arts ever since he was 12 years old. After an undefeated amateur career, Pacio soon made his professional debut, where he went 6-0 before making it to the global stage of ONE Championship.
In 2016, he got his chance against reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, falling just short of victory. Now riding a three-bout winning streak, Pacio has earned a rematch against the champion.
“I have waited two long years for this, working on my skills every single day and improving with every bout,” Pacio said. “This is no doubt the biggest fight of my professional career. I am a completely different fighter now compared to before when we first met. I think I will surprise him a lot with how much I have changed. I have worked extremely hard with my team, with my coach, on developing a fight-winning strategy for this Saturday night.
“All that’s left is for me to execute. Winning the world title means a lot to me. It will give me a chance to provide a better life for myself and for my family. I have only victory on my mind in this bout.”