Back in 2018, Team Lakay boasted four ONE Championship title holders. Joshua Pacio is now the last man standing and the strawweight champion has won his last four fights.

But there is a new kid on the block. Jarred Brooks submitted Pacio’s teammate, Lito Adiwang at ONE: ‘NextGen’ Part III. That win earned the American the #3 spot in the strawweight rankings.

‘The Monkey God’ has made it clear he wants to fight Pacio but the champion was quick to play down the idea that there is bad blood between Brooks and Team Lakay,

“Him calling us out is just his style to get the big fights. Personally, I respect Jarred Brooks, he’s very experienced and a really confident fighter.”

Experienced opponent

Brooks is a UFC veteran and Pacio believes it is the American’s experience that makes him such a threat,

“What makes Jarred Brooks good is his experience. He’s been fighting at the top level in mixed martial arts for the longest time. I can say he’s one of the threats in this division, but as I’ve been saying, I’ve been improving by 1$ each day. And while he’s saying that he hasn’t faced someone in his level, I know for a fact that he also hasn’t faced someone like me.”

Pacio was impressed by Brook’s submission win over Adiwang but thinks the UFC veteran benefitted from some generous refereeing,

“I felt like he controlled Lito in the entire first round. In the second round, I felt like he was starting to gas out (but) Lito threw a leg kick and Jarred asked for a timeout because of a low blow. Lito thought it wasn’t a low blow, and then he took the entire five minutes to rest.”

Top dog

Once the fight resumed Brooks was able to submit Adiwang almost instantly but Pacio believes that his teammate would have turned the fight around in the final round,

“Then there it was, back in the same position. Lito made one error and Brooks made him pay for it. Brooks definitely wanted to finish Lito as soon as he got the choke, as he knew that Lito would turn the tide in the third round.”

Undefeated South African Bokang Masunyane is currently ranked #3. Pacio says all the contenders are dangerous but is adamant he will be ready regardless of who the next challenger is,

“All of them are dangerous. Since I’m on the top of the food chain, I know all those guys you mentioned are working hard to beat me. But I’ve also kept an eye on them. We’ve been reviewing their styles, we’ve been watching them, and all I can say is we’re ready for whoever is next.”