■ Harley F. Palangchao
The much-awaited rematch between former ONE strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio and reigning champion Jarred Brooks might be booked early 2024, reports said.
ONE Championship Chairman Chatri Sityodtong has been quoted as saying the rematch will happen anytime in 2024 and will be formally announced by the biggest martial arts promotion in Asia.
Sityodtong said he attended a matchmaking meeting and it appeared the sought-after rematch between Pacio and Brooks has been on the list.
The 27-year-old Pacio has repositioned himself as a top title contender after he defeated previously unbeaten Mansur Malachiev of Russia via unanimous decision on Oct. 26.
It was an impressive comeback fight for Pacio of Lions Nation MMA, who had not fought for almost a year after losing his belt to Brooks in their showdown on Dec. 3.
The 30-year-old Brooks of the United States, on the other hand, has not defended his belt for a year now.
Brooks made his presence felt in ONE Championship when he defeated three possible title contenders namely Lito Adiwang, Koha Minowa, and Bokang Munsayane to earn a spot to challenge Pacio for the belt.
When Pacio defeated Malachiev in August, Brooks took to social media to call out every possible contender in his division, including Pacio.
“Joshua Pacio, I am more than willing and ready to fight you in a month, two months, it doesn’t matter,” he said in a recent post on Instagram.
“But there’s that timeline for you, bro. I hope you’re ready. Let’s go. Come for me? I’m coming for you, baby,” Brooks said.