Joshua Pacio Expects Team Lakay To Dominate In ONE Championship Again
With Brandon Vera losing his ONE heavyweight title to Arjan Bhullar at ONE: Dangal, strawweight champion Joshua Pacio is now the only Filipino to hold a ONE Championship belt.
Vera won the heavyweight title by knocking out Paul Cheng in only 26 seconds at ONE: Spirit Of Champions in 2015. Three years later, the Philippines reached the pinnacle of its storied journey in ONE Championship, ending 2018 with five world champions in the promotion. Four of which came from Team Lakay.
Pacio was one of the four Team Lakay members to capture gold in ONE Championship in 2018, with the other three being Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, and Geje Eustaquio.
The Future Looks Bright
Speaking to ONE Championship, Pacio said that although he’s the only Filipino champion in ONE right now, he’s optimistic that his teammates will dominate the MMA world again in the not too distant future.
“I may be the lone world champion now but I think that won’t last long because I’m confident that some of my teammates will be champions in the future,” Pacio said
The Baguio-based gym has had a tough last couple of years and Pacio admits that his team is under some pressure, but he has no doubt in his mind that they will come back stronger.
“We’re used to being pressured, but I’m confident [we can win more world titles] because I train with world-class athletes and world champions,” Pacio said. “When I train in the gym, I’m still training with world champions like Eduard, Kevin, and Geje. They’re still champions in my eyes.”
Team Lakay’s Promising Next Generation
While his veteran teammates are looking to reclaim their titles, Pacio said that Team Lakay also has potential future champions like Danny Kingad and promotional newcomers, former BRAVE CF bantamweight champion Stephen Loman, and the highly-touted Jhanlo Sangiao.
“You have Danny Kingad and young ones like Stephen Loman and Jhanlo Sangiao, who I believe will be world champions in the future,” Pacio said.
Outside of Joshua Pacio and his Team Lakay teammates, the number one atomweight contender Denice Zamboanga is within touching distance of title contention. She is scheduled to face South Korea’s Ham Seo Hee in the first round of the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix, expected to take place in the coming months.
Who do you think will be the next ONE Championship world champion to come out of Team Lakay?