MANILA, Philippines -- ONE strawweight champion Joshua Pacio has been studying the possible contenders to his title and remains ready to face whoever will be pitted against him by the promotion.
The Team Lakay standout -- the lone Filipino holding a ONE Championship title -- recently expressed his readiness to take on all comers, insisting he has no preference on who his next challenger will be.
"For me naman, kahit sino eh," Pacio said when asked who he wants to face next -- the No. 1 contender in the ONE rankings, or the winner of the upcoming showdown between Jarred Brooks and Hiroba Minowa.
Bokang Masunyane of South Africa is currently the No. 1 contender, but that may change pending the result of the Minowa-Brooks bout that is set for ONE: Only the Brave on January 28 in Singapore.
Regardless of who emerges as the challenger, Pacio said he is ready.
"Noong last year pa, we have our eyes on that rankings, so 'yung apat na 'yun, nakatingin kami, nire-review namin," he explained. "'Yung skills, 'yung strengths and weaknesses nila. So paano kung ito 'yung kakalabanin, paano kung siya 'yung next."
"We are ready kung kahit sino," he assured.
Pacio is coming off a thrilling stoppage victory against Japanese rival Yosuke Saruta in their trilogy bout last September, his third successful defense of his ONE strawweight belt.
The win came quickly -- Pacio caught a Saruta kick then landed a flush right hand, before finishing off his foe with a series of unanswered punches.
While his victory was impressive, Pacio still wants to showcase his much-improved skills come his next fight.
"Gaya nga ng sabi ko noon, tayo 'yung nasa taas ng food chain. 'Yung trabaho lang natin is to level up every single day," he said. "'Yung goal namin, 'yung last na outing ko kasi, parang mas marami pa sana tayong maipapakita."
"Sa next na outing natin is, doon natin ipapakita 'yung more complete na athlete, more complete na Joshua Pacio," he guaranteed.