Eduard Folayang, Joshua Pacio, ONE Championship
Former two-time ONE lightweight champion Eduard Folayang (left) and former two-time ONE strawweight champion Joshua Pacio (right). Multiple Sources


  • Eduard Folayang and Joshua Pacio will be heading stateside on April 3
  • Both men will spend the majority of their stay in the U.S. at Jackson Wink
  • The two are planning to visit several gyms in California as well

When Eduard Folayang and Joshua Pacio publicly confirmed their shocking departures from Team Lakay earlier this month, both men shared a common theme in their respective statements—stepping out of their comfort zones.

This is what they are bound to do on Monday, April 3 as both men are booked to fly out of their home country of the Philippines to spend four weeks in the United States for training.

Their first stop is at a mixed martial arts training facility that needs no introduction to the most die-hard fans of the sport—Jackson Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Jackson Wink has produced a number of world-class mixed martial artists over the years who went on to become world champions, including Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre, Alistair Overeem, Rashad Evans, Carlos Condit and Holly Holm, just to name a few.

Folayang and Pacio will be afforded the invaluable opportunity of working with an all-star cast of coaches led by Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn.

It is not the first time Folayang will be rubbing elbows with Jackson and Winkeljohn as he trained with both back in 2018, months before vying for the then-vacant ONE lightweight championship against Amir Khan.

Moreover, "Landslide" will be reuniting with striking coach Brandon "Six Gun" Gibson.

Folayang will also bring Pacio to Jackson Wink's chapter in Acoma to introduce him to Nick Urso, who handled the former's grappling program during his one-month stay in "The Land of Enchantment" over four years ago.

"With all honesty, I can no longer contain my excitement over the chance to train with them once again. The new chapter for me begins in the States, and I am incredibly grateful," the beloved Filipino MMA superstar told the International Business Times.

Pacio, the former two-time ONE strawweight champion, echoed the same elation.

"It will be my first time in the States. Of course, I'm super excited. But at the same time, I am looking forward to fully maximizing the opportunity that has been given to us," Pacio expressed.

The two have plans to explore the sunny state of California, with the Rafael Cordeiro-headed Kings MMA in Huntington Beach being at the top of their list of gyms to visit.

Cordeiro is known for mentoring the likes of Anderson Silva, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Wanderlei Silva, Fabricio Werdum, Rafael dos Anjos, Lyoto Machida and Cris "Cyborg" Justino.

In fact, Folayang received an invite from Justino when he announced his exit from Team Lakay.

Meanwhile, Pacio hopes to set foot on the mats of Urijah Faber's Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, home to a number of top-tier talents such as Cody Garbrandt, Chad Mendes, Sage Northcutt, Song Yadong, Maycee Barber and Clay Guida.

"I would love to spar with the guys at Team Alpha Male. It's beneficial on my part because they have a ton of fighters who belong to a lower weight class like me. Plus, the majority of its athletes are at the elite level," Pacio said.

Furthermore, "The Passion" targets to have a few sessions with boxing coach Jason Parillo at the RVCA Sport Training Center in Costa Mesa.

Though they have a full catalog of gyms to choose from during their month-long stay in the U.S., Folayang made it clear that seeking affiliation is not on their agenda.

"We only seek two things in this journey—to learn and to grow by exposing ourselves to different styles and training methodologies of mixed martial arts. Nothing more, nothing less, Joining any stable or group is not part of the plan," he clarified.

"Joshua and I intend to come back home and share what we've learned."

Folayang is keen on having two bouts this year under the ONE Championship banner, setting his sights on the July 7th card and the September 1 event.

On the other hand, Pacio has two opponents in mind for his return to action: the winner of Bokang Masunyane vs. Hiroba Minowa on April 22 and No. 4-ranked Gustavo Balart.

They will end the trip by attending ONE Fight Night 10—the promotion's maiden live event on American soil—set for May 5th at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado.

It is too early to determine if their excursion will garner them favorable results, but Folayang is confident that he and Pacio will experience a huge payoff.

"They say that fortune favors the bold, and I believe in that old adage. I'm positive that this journey will give us our harvest season," he ended.

Joshua Pacio
Filipino MMA fighters Joshua Pacio and Eduard Folayang celebrate inside the ONE Championship cage. ONE Championship

Nissi Icasiano is a sportswriter, analyst and editor from the Philippines. He started his professional career in 2013. He has also written for various media outlets such as, ABS-CBN, Tiebreaker Times,,, South China Morning Post, The Phnom Penh Post and the International Business Times. In 2017, he started a career as a Combat Sports Analyst for television and radio, appearing on various news shows for ABS-CBN, GMA, TV5, Radyo Singko 92.3 News FM, PTV 4, Business World, Radyo Pilipinas 2 and Bombo Radyo Philippines. He practices boxing at Tiger City Boxing Gym whenever he is not writing.