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


  • ONE Championship will host its first event in the Philippines since January 2020

  • The card will be headlined by a grudge match between Joshua Pacio and Jarred Brooks
  • Both men were originally set to face each other this past June

The long-awaited grudge match between two of the most highly touted strawweights in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) finally has a date.

The International Business Times has received an official confirmation from ONE Championship that Filipino phenom Joshua Pacio will put his coveted strawweight title on the line against American standout and No. 1 contender Jarred Brooks on December 3.

Both men were originally penciled to face each other at the hotly-anticipated ONE 158 last June 3, but the Singapore-based promotion had to postpone the bout due to a "scheduling conflict."

The five-round world championship clash will be held in Pacio's home country of the Philippines, marking ONE Championship's return to the island-nation for the first time in over two years.

The last time that the organization hosted a live event on Philippine soil was on January 31, 2020—an 11-fight card entitled "ONE: Fire & Fury" where Pacio successfully defended his strawweight belt versus former champion Alex Silva by way of split decision in the headlining contest.

Per ONE Championship, the title tiff is set to take place at the 20,000-capacity SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila with a live crowd.

However, it is yet to be determined if the aforementioned card featuring Pacio and Brooks on the marquee will be part of the "ONE on Prime Video" event series.

War of words

Both Pacio and Brooks will have the opportunity to settle their differences after months of trading barbs on social media.

Brooks has been in hot pursuit of a cage date with Pacio ever since he made his triumphant promotional debut in November 2021 by submitting the latter's Team Lakay stablemate in the form of Lito Adiwang with a second-round arm-triangle choke.

Jarred Brooks
Jarred Brooks celebrates his win over Lito Adiwang last year at ONE Championship. ONE Championship

On various occasions, "The Monkey God" made his best effort to play mind games, calling out the champion in interviews, accusing him of ducking a fight, threatening to "bend Pacio over his knee," and even ridiculing the Filipino's television set at home.

"I just watched his Instagram story congratulating me [on my victory over Bokang Masunyane]. He's a classy guy, but I gotta get that guy some more money [to replace] the TV that he has," Brooks said back in April. "I'll buy him a new TV with the money I'll get from beating him."

It didn't take too long for "The Passion" to respond to Brooks' verbal jabs.

"I don't need a new TV. But when he loses, I'll charge him for that TV, and I will put it in my bathroom," Pacio stated.

"[I want] to show him who's the best strawweight on the planet and who the real daddy is. I heard you calling my name many times. Don't you worry, I'll see you soon."

Brooks—who holds a professional record of 19-2, 1 NC and needs no introduction to diehard MMA fans due to his stints in outfits such as the UFC, Bellator, Pancrase and Rizin Fighting Federation—has been an unstoppable force in ONE Championship thus far, winning his last three outings in spectacular fashion to secure a shot at Pacio's intricately-crafted hardware.

The 29-year-old native of Warsaw, Indiana has yet to capture a major title in the sport, making it a must-win situation opposite Pacio.

On the other hand, Pacio (20-3) is a two-time ONE strawweight titleholder, getting his first taste of gold in September 2018 at the expense of Yoshitaka Naito in a rematch and then having his second reign as the division kingpin by exacting revenge on Yosuke Saruta nearly a year later.

Joshua Pacio, Mitch Chilson
Mitch Chilson (R) interviews Joshua Pacio (L) inside the cage after a title bout at ONE Championship. ONE Championship

Pacio—who has a total of 14 matches under the ONE Championship banner—is currently riding high on a four-fight winning streak with three victorious title defenses, which included a second-round submission of compatriot Rene Catalan in November 2019 and an emphatic knockout of Saruta in their September 2021 trilogy duel.

ONE Championship is expected to provide more updates regarding the fight card on December 3 in the coming days.

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.