June 17, 2024

Reigning ONE strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio, who has fought top Japanese mixed martial arts fighters in four world titles, shared his insights on how one can beat a Japanese fighter.
The past years saw Pacio defeating ranked one contender Yosuke Saruta and ranked two Yoshitaka Naito, who outlasted formidable fighters, including Filipinos.
Asked what makes the Japanese athletes so tough, Pacio quickly attributed it to how meticulous they are in their craft. 
“The work ethic of Japanese people is amazing. For them, training is their whole life,” Pacio said.  
“If they want to pursue mixed martial arts, they will be working in the gym, repeating drills. It may not be hard training, but they repeat drills over and over again, and that’s why they’re so tough,” he added.  
But Pacio believes Filipinos have one major advantage over their rivals: their heart.  
The Team Lakay star noted the key to beating the Japanese opponents is staying determined, regardless of the pressure their opponents bring. 
“I don’t want to generalize, but we’ve seen some of their athletes lose their composure when their will is broken. It’s not even about the skills anymore. It’s more on the confidence. You make them uncomfortable, you break their will, they have that tendency,” Pacio said.
Pacio, however, was quick to downplay any tension between the two nations, saying they benefit from each other’s competitiveness.  
“People will look at it as a strong rivalry, and people might think there’s animosity to it, but as martial artists that’s a good thing for us – a very positive thing actually, because when I lost to Naito and Saruta, I was able to assess myself on the things that I lacked and the things that I needed to work on,” Pacio said. – Harley F. Palangchao