Former ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes has worked hard for everything he has in his life.
The 39-year-old has taken advantage of every opportunity given to him, and he has since become one of the most prolific Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners and mixed martial artists on the planet.
Before he enters the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan for his co-main event bout, Fernandes talks about the importance of discipline, where he learned his values, and much more.
ONE Championship: Why is it important to be disciplined as an athlete and, more specifically, as a World Champion?
Bibiano Fernandes: I believe discipline is the key to everything you have. I don’t think you only need to be disciplined as a champion or an athlete, but I think you have to be disciplined in your lifestyle.
If you do not have discipline in your life, then you can grow only a little bit, and if you fail, you will not know how to come back again. However, with discipline, you can reach the highest places.
ONE: What is the biggest area where you find it hard to be disciplined?
BF: The biggest area where I find it hard to be disciplined is with my ego. Everyone has an ego and when I see my ego, I always try to improve it. I am always trying to improve myself.
ONE: How can someone who finds it hard to be disciplined stay on the right path?
BF: Everything in life is about emotion. [It’s all about] the way you think, and if you change little things, then you will be able to find your way back on the right path.
ONE: What’s the thought process? For example, if you are craving a cheeseburger, how are you able to remain disciplined and stick to your diet?
BF: If you want a cheeseburger or a Big Mac at McDonald’s, why? What is the reason why you want that food? Is it because you want the feeling? Do you want the taste?
I would then ask, “What kind of goal do you have in your life?” If your goal doesn’t have anything to do with your diet, then you can have whatever you want.
Everything is about what you want in your life. You first need to have a goal, and second, you need to have the discipline for your goal until you get it.
ONE: Where did your values come from?
BF: For me, my values have come from religion.
When I was a child, my father would take us to church, and the church taught me a lot. My father always told me to be good and always be kind, but I never thought much of it because it was my father who told me that.
When I was a child, I didn’t understand, but now I do because it clicks inside your brain as an adult. In mixed martial arts, you have to have respect and you have to be kind.
A friend asked me how he can do better in his life, so I told him that I go to church on Sundays because that keeps me grounded and this has helped me.
The church and religion have taught me values, and it has helped me lead my life in the right direction.
ONE: What would you tell younger martial artists about the value of discipline?
BF: This is very difficult. It’s different for every person. It’s different because of where you were born, different in how you see life, the struggles you go through in life, and more.
The best advice I have is to find somebody to guide you. Find someone that you really respect and let them guide you.
A guy that I looked to, to guide me, was Fedor Emelianenko. I really look up to him. The way he carries himself is something I try to pride myself on. During the fight, he brings the fight, but after that, he’s normal.