It wasn’t too long ago that Joshua "The Passion" Pacio was seated in the upper levels of the Mall of Asia Arena, watching his Team Lakay seniors compete.
“Hindi pa din ako makapaniwala na dati, nasa Upper Box lang ako noon na nanonood sa kanila, tapos ngayon lumalaban na,’ Pacio said in an interview back in 2016, right after he had won his second ONE Championship bout.
A little over three years later, Pacio is now a two-time ONE Strawweight World Champion and is regarded as the top dog in the division. At ONE: Masters of Fate this Friday, November 8th, Pacio returns to the arena where he used to watch his Team Lakay kuyas compete and finds himself in the main event, defending his ONE Strawweight World Championship against Filipino challenger Rene ‘D’ Challenger’ Catalan.
This will be Pacio’s first main event match in Manila, and the 23-year old can’t help but get a bit emotional looking back at his journey from the bleachers to the marquee.
“Minsan, nakaka-iyak din, lalo na nung last time na nanalo ako doon, tinitignan ko sa taas, yung parang iniisip ko na nandon pa din ako, tapos someday, ganun,” Pacio told ABS-CBN Sports, referencing to his last win at the Mall of Asia Arena when he knocked out Yosuke Saruta to regain the ONE Strawweight World Championship.
By all accounts, at such a young age, Pacio has made it. Considered as one of the future faces of Team Lakay and Filipino MMA, Pacio now hopes to become an inspiration for aspiring young athletes.
Pacio hopes that one day, he gets to hear a story similar to his, of a young kid starting out as a spectator up in the nosebleeds to one day hoisting up a world championship belt.
“Pero tinitignan ko sa taas, alam ko maraming nanonood na mga kabataan na bumaba galing Baguio na studyante namin, ganun din yung iniisip. Sana na-inspire ko din sila doon. Alam ko, balang araw mayroon ding magsasabi na nanonood sila sa taas at nag-champion sila,” he concluded.
Catch ONE: MASTERS OF FATE live on Friday, November 8th LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23 on LIVESTREAM via the ABS-CBN Sports Facebook Page and on iWant starting at 8:30 PM.
ONE: MASTERS OF FATE will also air on Sunday's Best on November 17th, Sunday, at 11:30 PM with local commentatry from Anton Roxas and Theo Castillo