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


  • Eduard Folayang and Joshua Pacio are currently training at Jackson Wink MMA Academy
  • Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn have a ton of positive things to say about the two
  • "We won the lottery and we got these guys," Jackson says of training Folayang and Pacio

Eduard Folayang and Joshua Pacio traveled 12,418 kilometers and nearly 24 hours from their hometown of Baguio City, Philippines to Albuquerque, New Mexico to train at the famed Jackson Wink MMA Academy.

Both men have one goal in mind—to turn their respective professional careers around with the help of highly-decorated coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn.

While Folayang and Pacio relish the rare privilege of learning from trainers who have proven track records by producing a long list of revered titleholders and top-caliber contenders in the sport, Jackson and Winkeljohn are humbly pleased to work with the two under the same roof.

"They're both amazing athletes. They're very technically sound. They've got an amazing skill set already. They're great people too. They fit in very, very well here. It's a pleasure to watch them spar and train, and just try to help them out any way I can," Jackson told the International Business Times.

Jackson, who won Coach of the Year three times in a row at the World MMA Awards, was admittedly surprised by how swiftly Folayang and Pacio got adjusted to the grind when they arrived.

"They're just very stoic personalities. They got in and went right to it. Like some people, they like to take their time and acclimate, trying to get a feel for it. They just jumped right in, and it was very impressive to watch," he revealed.

"There's something in the water in the Philippines because you have so many amazing fighters come out of there, just fighter after fighter after fighter. I don't know what it is. Genetics, culture—I don't know, but you guys can crank these amazing warriors out," Jackson later added.

For Winkeljohn, it was Pacio who caught his attention during their first week of training.

"For Joshua, we just sat down and had breakfast, and I was like, 'Gosh, I kind of want to have the opportunity to work with him,'" said Winkeljohn, the mentor of ex-UFC bantamweight queen Holly Holm.

"I want them to come in and work on their skills in the gym and learn from them as well. We're excited about having them here."

Folayang and Pacio may have benefited more from making the long trip to Albuquerque on paper, but for Jackson, it was more than they could ask for.

"I just have to say how impressed I am by them. They're both great guys and what a contribution they're going to get. We're going to help them, but I think they might help us more because they're great training partners and people. Somehow, we won the lottery and we got these guys," he mentioned.

Jackson hopes that members of their prominent stable will be able to imbibe the same demeanor and work ethic possessed by Folayang and Pacio.

"I'm hoping that when some of these younger fighters come in and they look at these guys, see their work ethic, and realize how tough they are, I'm hoping that inspires the whole team. Hopefully, we'll have some of that Filipino magic here in Albuquerque, New Mexico," he remarked.

Folayang and Pacio are looking to return to action later this year. Given the chance, Jackson and Winkeljohn would like to work in the corner of both former ONE world champions.

"We would love to corner these guys. Fantastic character, they do the right thing, and having them be part of us and us be part of them, I think it'll make this whole sport bigger," Winkeljohn claimed.

Quotes transcribed by Karl Batungbacal

Greg Jackson, Mike Winkeljohn
Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn celebrate the victory of John Jones against Lyoto Machida at UFC 140 on December 10, 2011. Getty

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.