MMA: Joshua Pacio determined to prove worth as champion


Joshua Pacio defends his ONE strawweight championship when he takes on Yosuke Saruta of Japan in Jakarta on January 19. File/ONE Championship

As the saying goes, a champion isn’t a champion until he successfully defends his belt.

That’s what Joshua Pacio wants to prove on January 19 when he makes his first ONE strawweight title defense against Yosuke Saruta of Japan.

“My main goal, of course, is to defend my title to the best of my ability,” Pacio said in an article posted on ONE Championship’s official website.

“This is my chance to prove that I deserve the golden strap. It belongs here in the Philippines. I will defend it with faith and hard work,” added Pacio, who will take on Saruta in the main event of ONE: Eternal Glory in Jakarta.

Pacio is one of Team Lakay’s four ONE champions, the others being flyweight champion Geje Eustaquio, bantamweight king Kevin Belingon and lightweight titlist Eduard Folayang.

They all won their crowns in 2018.

“For me, 2018 has been absolutely amazing, especially for our team, but it’s only the beginning,” said Pacio, who won his title by defeating Yoshitaka Naito during their rematch in September.

“I’m still evolving and developing as an athlete. I don’t think the world has seen the best of Joshua Pacio yet.”

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