JEREMY “The Juggernaut” Pacatiw regarded his ONE Championship signing as perfect timing being the latest Team Lakay upstart to join the Singapore-based promotion.
“I know this is God’s plan. This is the perfect time for me to join ONE,” he said.
The 25-year-old has been busy making a name for himself in the Bahrain-based BRAVE Combat Federation for the past few years.
His last fight came 18 months ago, with Pacatiw stopping Brazilian foe Felipe Efrain back in December 2019 by an emphatic knockout to hike his win-loss slate to 10-4.
That long inactivity, however, makes some reflect where they stand in their life, one that Pacatiw surely did as he admitted there was always part of him which wondered how he would fare in ONE Championship.
“When I look at my seniors like kuya Eduard [Folayang], I always feel that I want to join ONE Championship. I really like what they are promoting, which isn’t all about trash talking but rather building a legacy. I always admired their vision,” he said.
Pacatiw need not fantasize anymore nor be away from his Team Lakay stablemates as he joins a loaded ONE bantamweight division and make the same impact, like what Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon did when he won the ONE Bantamweight World Championship back in 2018.
“I was inspired by their achievements. They really showed that us Filipinos are world champions. That lit a fire under me that I also want to rise to the top and be just like them,” he said.
That’s not to say that he’s not feeling any jitters, with Pacatiw admittedly still in disbelief on this latest chapter in his career, not to mention having to carry the reputation of being a Team Lakay fighter.
“When coach Mark [Sangiao] told me that I will be signed, I was very excited and happy. But I was also nervous because I know that in ONE Championship, I’ll be fighting against high-caliber athletes. There’s also pressure because I’m a part of a well-known team like Team Lakay,” he said.
“But I [will] handle it through maintaining my focus on the path I want to go to so that I can achieve my goals. My seniors have also reminded me to double-time and focus on my training because this is already a big organization and I’ll be facing a lot of high-caliber opponents. So I really have to train hard.”
Pacatiw will surely have his hands full given the pedigree of the bantamweight division ONE has.
Not only does it have fellow Team Lakay warrior Belingon, it also features no. 1-ranked John “Hands of Stone” Lineker of Brazil, no. 3 Yusup Saadulaev of Russia, no. 4 Fabricio “Wonder Boy” Andrade of Brazil, and no. 5 Shoko Sato of Japan.
Of course, at the top of the food chain is reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes of Brazil.
“The bantamweight division is very stacked, deep, and has high-caliber fighters,” Pacatiw observed, before saying, “But they haven’t fought someone like me.”
It’s a well-needed boost of confidence for Pacatiw, who is hungry to prove his worth in ONE Championship.
“My fighting style is like dancing because I focus on my footwork,” he shared. “Everyone knows that Team Lakay fighters are strikers, but I’m more of a danger because I am slick. I’m also a striker and I can also wrestle. I’m a well-rounded fighter and I think that’s my biggest strength.”
No question, Pacatiw aspires to be the ONE Bantamweight World Champion one day, but he knows the road to the top requires lots of sacrifice.
That’s why for now, all he wants is to have a memorable debut once he finally enters the ONE Circle.
“My short term goal is to gain the hearts of the fans and give them a good fight. I want my debut to be an impressive win and I need to work to be able to reach my goals,” he said.
By Armando M. Bolislis