Jeremy Pacatiw has wanted to earn a spot on the ONE Championship roster for a long time. He was cageside at an event in Manila in 2016 and decided there and then he wanted to earn himself a contract with Asia’s biggest MMA promotion,

“Being signed to ONE Championship is a dream come true. When I saw Joshua (Pacio) in his debut , I told myself, ‘I want to be there and join him in that promotion’,” he said.

The 25 year old is set to face off against Rui Chen at ONE: ‘Battleground’ next Friday. He has fought several times for Brave but for many fight fans it will be the first glimpse of Pacatiw.

He knows that first impressions count and the Filipino is determined to make a good one,

“I want to put on a good show. That’s the impression I want to leave in my ONE debut. I have to give it my all and put it all on the line so the fans and officials can enjoy what they’ll see.”

Constant training

While he has never competed on a ONE Championship card before his Team Lakay coaches and training partners have a decade of experience when it comes to fighting for the promotion. The Singapore Indoor Stadium is not unfamiliar territory for the men from Baguio, they have been featuring on fight cards there since 2011.

Pacatiw is confident that they have left no stone unturned in preparation for what will be the biggest fight of his career,

“I had a good training camp. We’ve prepared well and we’ve worked hard to get that win on the 30th. As a martial artist, you have to work on all aspects. During that camp, I think we got everything covered, from striking to jiu-jitsu and grappling,” Pacatiw says.

He faces a Chinese bantamweight who has won three out of his five ONE Championship fights. Pacatiw says he is well prepared for the challenge,

“I wouldn’t want to underestimate my opponent, so I have to make sure everything is covered. I never stopped training, even during the pandemic. I really worked for it, so I expect this to be good.”

Must win

He has plenty of footage to review and Pacatiw thinks his opponent is primarily a stand up orientated fighter. That should be music to the ears of a Team Lakay representative, the camp’s fighters all seem to have very strong wushu based striking.

The Filipino thinks Rui is more comfortable in the striking exchanges but is taking nothing for granted,

“His strength is more on the striking game, but I’m sure he’s trained himself in the ground, so we’ll see. I believe that I’m better, though. If he wants to strike, I know I’m better and faster. If he wants to use his wrestling and turn this into a grappling contest, then I’m ready as well.”

While Rui is not a big name he has proven himself in the ONE Championship cage. Pacatiw is conscious this is something he still needs to do,

“I need the win. I have to prove myself and I plan on using this match as a stepping stone for me to get to the top,” he said.

Decent form

He comes into this contest on decent form having won four out of his last five fights. Pacatiw knows that it is essential he gets his ONE Championship career off to a good start and says that it will be ‘win at all costs’ on Friday,

“I don’t care if it’s a decision win, if I knock him out, or submit him. The most important thing is to win. That’s the mindset, to win at all costs.”