Joshua Pacio is undefeated since leaving Team Lakay to help form Lion’s Nation MMA. Next month he rematches Jarred Brooks at ONE 166 and will be looking to win the strawweight title for the third time.

Brooks beat Pacio by decision at ONE 164 in 2022. That was the Filipino’s final fight for Team Lakay and it cost him the strawweight title he had held for four years.

It was not the result which disappointed Pacio so much as the performance,

“I lost in a fight where I didn’t showcase my absolute best. That disappointment lingered within me for a long time.”

Extra motivation

Pacio came back strongly and beat the previously undefeated Mansur Malachiev at ONE Fight Night 15. The dissappointment from the loss to Brooks still lingers and it gives him extra motivation heading into the rematch in Qatar,

“Now, I’m turning that disappointment into my fuel for this fight. I know the lapses I committed in the first fight, and in the rematch, I will aim to rectify them.”

Brooks was able to use his wrestling to dominate the first fight. Pacio was reluctant to attack for fear of getting taken down and is determined not to make the same mistake second time around,

“That’s the goal of this training camp, to fight with no hesitation. In this rematch, I must fight the way I really fight.”

Well prepared

Pacio has won the strawweight title twice. He regrets not having the confidence to take the fight to Brooks first time around and plans to make up for it in the rematch,

“This is mixed martial arts. It’s either you will get hit or you will get taken down. This camp has taught me to have the proper mindset. If I am one of the best in the world, I should fight like it.”

Brooks clearly won Pacio’s respect but the Filipino says his preparation has been much better this time around,

“Jarred Brooks is no pushover. He can strike and he can wrestle. But I’m prepared wherever the fight goes.”

Better place

Pacio thinks that training and Lion’s Nation MMA has left him in a better place than he was with his previous team,

“When you’re preparing for a bout with this kind of magnitude, you must be 100% ready physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. When you’re confident and happy in your environment, it will bring out the best in (you) an athlete and I can honestly say that’s what I’m feeling right now. All of that can be attributed to the support I’m getting here at Lions Nation MMA.”

Pacio says nothing has been left to chance in terms of his preparation for what could turn out to be a career defining fight,

“I’m blessed because I’m having the proper preparation, from the fight itself to strength and conditioning, and even the nutrition.”

All possibilities 

Pacio has been working on his physical condition as well as the various aspects of MMA. He gave a bit of insight into his training routine,

“For this training camp, we’ve got all the help I need to monitor my progress. We have a legitimate strength and conditioning coach, Kuya Vince (Loman) who has really focused on enhancing my explosiveness and speed. In the grappling aspect, of course, Professor Gibran Langbayan is here to help. Plus, he brought his younger brother, Godwin, with him. Godwin is one of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in the Philippines and is part of the national sambo team.”

There aren’t too many wrestlers of Brooks’ calibre in the Philippines. Regardless, Pacio says he has prepared for every possible situation,

“In terms of the fight itself, we’ve done a lot of simulations to have a real feel of all the possibilities that could happen in the fight.”

Pacio has been one of Lion’s Nation MMA’s success stories. He beat an elite wrestler in his first fight representing the camp and will be looking to do the same thing in Qatar next month.