Amnuaysirichoke wants another shot at Naito ahead of clash against Pacio

One Championship (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The blockbuster showdown between Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke and Joshua Pacio on March 11 could virtually become the number one contender match for the One strawweight championship.

Amnuaysirichoke admitted that he is looking forward to get the belt that once belonged to him back from Naito.

“​A win on March 11 is an important step towards fighting for the world title again,” the Thai fighter said. “​I have trained hard for this comeback bout, and I want to avenge my loss to Naito.”

Amnuaysirichoke and Pacio are set to collide at One: Warrior Kingdom in Bangkok on the said date.

[Related Story: Pacio clashes with Amnuaysirichoke in battle of former Naito challengers]

Ironically, it was in the said city where Amnuaysirichoke, the inaugural strawweight champ, relinquished the belt to the current holder from Japan as Naito silenced Amnuaysirichoke's compatriots last May.

[Related Story: Naito takes One belt from Amnuaysirichoke in inaugural Thai event; Batolbatol falls to Christian Lee]

"Fighting in Bangkok means a lot to me," said Amnuaysirichoke, who looks to finally make good use of the home country advantage against the visiting Pacio, who also wants a rematch against Naito.

[Related Story: Pacio eyes payback over Naito ahead of clash with Amnuaysirichoke]

Both pugs are known for their striking game, but Pacio has been praised for having a good ground game as well, something Amnuaysirichoke put his premium on during training.

“I have continued to improve my overall MMA game. I’ve also worked on my ground skills, both offensively and defensively. I'm very excited to test these out in the cage in March. If the fight goes to the ground, I'm comfortable and confident in my grappling skills to get the submission,” he continued.

However, the former three-time Muay Thai champ insisted that he has the striking edge over his Filipino foe.

“I believe I'll have the edge in striking because of my Muay Thai experience. I know he has a background in wushu, but striking is so natural to me. Joshua Pacio can fight standing up or on the ground. If he wants to strike with me, I have no problem with that. I am so ready for this fight,” Amnuaysirichoke vowed.

In the end, however, he has full respect over his opponent.

“Pacio is a well-rounded fighter, and I have a lot of respect for him. He has good striking. He is good on the ground as well. Joshua Pacio is such a talented fighter,” Amnuaysirichoke said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno