Yosuke Saruta
Newly crowned ONE strawweight champion Yosuke Saruta is open to a rematch with Joshua Pacio but also wants to face fellow Japanese mixed martial artist Yoshitaka Naito. ONE Championship photo

Newly installed ONE strawweight champion Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta is open to a rematch with former champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, but the Japanese mixed martial artist said he would prefer to face Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito if given the chance.

Saruta won the ONE Strawweight title at ONE: Eternal Glory, which was held at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia last Jan. 19 via unanimous decision over Pacio, unleashing a masterful game plan against the Filipino, the Jakarta Post reported.

The 31-year-old was well aware of the striking game of the Filipino, which was why he unsurprisingly turned to his grappling to ground the now-former strawweight champion.

The Japanese was undoubtedly in control the first two rounds before Pacio got some ground in the third and fourth rounds. In the fifth and final round, Saruta unleashed a relentless attack after grounding Pacio in the waning minutes of the match, enough to convince the judges to score in his favor.

When asked to recall how things went against Pacio, the Japanese said he hardly remembers how things went down but admitted that the Filipino was a tough opponent, Manila Bulletin Sports Online reported.

“He doesn’t really remember the fight. One thing he remembers is that it was really, really tough,” a Japanese translator said, relaying Saruta's statement.

Pacio admitted that he lacked preparation in some areas, including experience. He is hoping to get another shot at the Japanese, but it depends entirely on ONE FC.

For his part, Saruta said that he is open to a rematch. He stressed that he is open to fighting anyone and that he never says no to a match. He singled out his last fight against Alex Silva, a match that was made in less than two weeks.

Aside from Pacio, the thing that caught some reporters by surprise was Saruta revealing fellow Japanese fighter Naito as one of his preferred opponents. It turns out that he wants to see who the best fighter in Japan is between him and Naito.

“He wants to fight against Nobita Naito. He wants to decide who’s the best in the country. Basically, Joshua, Naito, and he are the best Strawweights in ONE. He also he wants to fight Joshua,” a translator said, relaying Saruta's words.

For now, Saruta is expected to rest and recover from the brutal battle which saw him and Pacio leave the arena with battle scars. As for his next opponent, this decision will be left at the hands of ONE Championship.