Although Joshua “Passion” Pacio’s focus is entirely on his upcoming rematch with reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta, he cannot help but feel excited to duke out with another contender in the division.
Rene “The Challenger” Catalan proved himself worthy of a World Title shot in the future after finishing former World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito at ONE: REIGN OF VALOR last Friday, 8 March.
“My initial reaction was that I was really proud that we have a fellow Filipino who just beat a former world champion,” he said.
“I was surprised with how he defeated Naito. Je is the only martial artist to dominate Naito like that. He was really focused on winning that fight.”
While matchmaking is the concern of ONE officials, Pacio feels that Catalan should be the next in line for the World Title shot, regardless of the result of his rematch with Saruta.
He expects Catalan to keep a close eye on his match, given that he’s the most invested spectator in that contest.
“I honestly think that he has earned a shot at the world title after that performance, but it is still up to ONE Championship if they will give him the opportunity,” Pacio stated.
“What I know for sure is that he will closely watch my rematch against Yosuke Saruta.”
Pacio claimed the ONE Strawweight World Title against Naito in a rematch at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES in September 2018, but he lost it a few months later to Saruta at ONE: ETERNAL GLORY.
Battling a fellow Filipino might illicit mixed reactions, but an all-Filipino World Title bout doesn’t sound too bad either for Pacio
“It would be an honor and a privilege to share the cage with him should I win the belt again.”