Joshua Pacio is the reigning ONE Championship strawweight champion. There is a long list of contenders waiting to take his crown and Jarred Brooks is the latest name to be added to it.

Pacio knows all about the Rizin and UFC veteran. He beat his teammate Lito Adiwang recently but the champion says Brooks isn’t the only threat,

“I’m on top of the food chain so it’s just natural that everyone’s going to call me out. Our job now is to stay ready and keep sharp to defend our position. We got our eyes on the top five contenders in this division and make no mistake about it, we are watching closely,” he said.

Higher bar

He watched the fight between Adiwang and Brooks at ONE: ‘NextGen’ Part II and thinks that his teammate was unfortunate,

“Lito did well. He defended the guillotine and he landed some strong shots especially that leg kick that Brooks asserted was a low blow but was not. I guess it wasn’t our night, but one thing I know is Lito will return more dangerous,” he said.

Adiwang and Pacio will never fight one another so matchmakers might have been relieved to see Brooks overtake him in the rankings. The American has already talked up the possibility of a title shot and the champion gives him credit for it,

“I think Brooks is very good at hooking audiences to watch a fight plus he has skills and wide experience. For sure, his entry here in ONE raised the bar higher for the strawweights here.”

Sharpening weapons

Pacio only got one fight in this year and it didn’t last long. He finished Yosuke Saruta in the opening round and believes he is improving steadily despite the lack of competitive action,

“We’ve been and are working on sharpening our weapons. I can’t wait to go back inside the circle to face anyone who’s worthy of and show everybody a constantly evolving Joshua Pacio.”

But Brooks is the name on everyone’s lips and Pacio admits his mind is very much on the American wrestling standout,

“To Jarred Brooks, welcome to my division. But don’t you ever think that we’ll hand you the belt that easily.”