There has been a lot of talk about Joshua Pacio (Joshua Pacio: ‘may the best man win’!). The Filipino doesn’t generally have too much to say for himself but #2 ranked Jarred Brooks (We are back! Jarred Brooks confirms next fight) has had plenty to say about the strawweight champion.

Brooks is one win away from a fight with Pacio and the Filipino is looking forwards to the upcoming title eliminator,

“Of course, I’m excited. We know how explosive these athletes are. They are both coming from wrestling backgrounds, so it’s exciting to see how this will unfold. Now we’ll see who’s next for me.”

Joshua Pacio lands a left hand on Yosuke Saruta during their strawweight title fight at ONE: 'Revolution' in the Singapore Indoor Stadium

More impressive

Bokang Masunyane (Bokang Masunyane sees a title shot on the horizon) faces Brooks at ONE: ‘Reloaded’ and Pacio says his teammate, who lost to the UFC veteran, told him that he faded in the second round,

“Lito (Adiwang) felt like Brooks was slowing down in the second. For me, if Bokang weathers the storm in the first round, he’ll be in a good spot. I’m not saying Brooks will gas out because he’s always well-prepared, but I feel like Bokang can control the second and third round.”

While Brooks is coming off back to back wins over ranked opponents Masunyane hasn’t fought since 2020. For this reason Pacio is favouring the American,

“For me, Brooks has been more impressive. He faced two top-five contenders and beat them, but I’m not discounting the fact that Bokang beat Rene (Catalan) when he was still in the rankings, and he knocked him out quickly.”

Joshua Pacio lands a right hand on Yosuke Saruta during their strawweight title fight at ONE: 'Revolution' in the Singapore Indoor Stadium

Competitive edge

He also thinks that Brooks, who has fought for the UFC, Bellator and Rizin, has an advantage in terms of top tier experience,

“One advantage that Brooks has is his experience. He’s been competing at the top level for the longest time. Bokang is top-level as well, but Brooks’ experience in competing there for a long time is his edge.”

Championship fights are five rounds and Pacio thinks that the this won’t be a factor in Brook’s favour if they do finally fight. But he feels the American will do just fine against Masunyane,

“This is hard, but I’m looking at the experience of Brooks, and given that it’s only a three-rounder, I’m siding more with Brooks by decision, mainly because of that experience.”

Joshua Pacio celebrates with the strawweight belt after beating Alex Silva at ONE: 'Fire & Fury' in Manila

Serious challenge

Pacio has been on the sidelines since Brooks made his ONE Championship debut. His last fight was in September but he won impressively against Yosuke Saruta (Yosuke Saruta has Covid-19, out of ONE: ‘Bad Blood’) at ONE: ‘Revolution’ (Controversy! Did Ok Rae Yoon deserve to beat Christian Lee?).

Pacio wants to remind people that he is the champion for a reason and whoever he faces next is in for a serious challenge,

“I’m a champion for a reason. If they want to take the belt, it’s not going to be a walk in the park. I’ve worked hard for this, my team has worked hard for this, so I’m not going to give this up easily.”