The reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion is Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, 34, of Japan. Among his possible next challengers are Filipino mixed martial artists Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 22, and Rene “The Challenger” Catalan, 39, who both won at “ONE: Reign of Kings.”
On July 27, 2018, “ONE: Reign of Kings” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines proved to be a good night for the Filipino mixed martial artists that showcased their talents on the stacked card. Led by Pacio’s Team Lakay teammate Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, 30, capturing the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Championship, the Philippine representatives went for a perfect 4-0 sweep on the night.
Aside from Pacio, Catalan and Belingon, former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, 34, of Team Lakay also won at “ONE: Reign of Kings.” Both Pacio and Catalan competed in the strawweight division.
With Pacio and Catalan both riding respective winning streaks, it now appears that the two Filipino strawweight contenders are on a collision course on their way to the ONE Strawweight World Championship. The two Filipino strawweight contenders now find themselves in an interesting position as they could easily be matched up against each other, with an opportunity to challenge for the world championship hanging in the balance.
It is possible that ONE Championship will pit Pacio and Catalan against each other for an interim championship bout to determine who shall face Naito next. Pacio’s fellow Team Lakay fighter Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, 29, became the ONE Interim Flyweight World Champion first before dethroning then ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes, 29, of Brazil in a rematch.
Also in a rematch, Naito regained his ONE Strawweight Word Championship title from Alex “Little Rock’ Silva, 35, of Brazil in a rematch at “ONE: Grit and Glory” in Jakarta, Indonesia on May 12, 2018. On December 9, 2017, the Brazilian fighter dethroned the Japanese MMA veteran at “ONE: Warriors of the World” in Bangkok, Thailand.
Meanwhile, here is an interview with Pacio prior to his “ONE: Reign of Kings” victory: