Powerful Origins: How John Lineker Developed Insane Knockout Power And Became Known As ‘Hands Of Stone’

John Lineker with a body punch to Bibiano Fernandes during their match for the ONE Bantamweight World Championship at ONE: LIGHTS OUT

Brazilian power puncher John Lineker believes that his legendary “Hands of Stone” are a product of both nature and nurture.

The former ONE Bantamweight MMA World Champion and current #1 contender will return against Kim Jae Woong at ONE Fight Night 13: Allazov vs. Grigorian on Prime Video, and he’ll be looking to display his concussive striking once again at the famed Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

Now 33 years old, Lineker has been aware of his gift for over 20 years, and his formative experiences in the boxing gym suggest there was something innate about his ability to punch well above his weight.

Ahead of his matchup with Kim on August 4, he recalled his early days to onefc.com:

“I started training in boxing when I was 12 years old. I was always the youngest and the lightest in training. I was sparring against guys heavier and older than me, and they already said at that time that my punches were too powerful for my size and my age.

“That’s when I started to develop the power of my punches more and the nickname ‘Hands of Stone’ came up. Everyone who sparred with me was amazed at the power of my punches. They said, ‘You need to be studied!’”

There’s an old adage that punchers are born, not made, and Lineker’s story backs that up. However, the American Top Team representative also thinks he increased his potential by doing manual labor when his body was still developing.

Shortly after he started his training, the Brazilian went to work with his hands – something he credits as another source of his rare ability to turn out his opponents’ lights.

“Hands of Stone” said:

“I really believe it was because I started working very early as a mason’s assistant in civil contracting, pounding concrete, carrying a heavy bucket. I was about 14 years old.

“I believe that this helped a lot to develop the power of my punches. I always did menial jobs, always carrying weight, and that helped a lot to develop my strength.”

‘I Can Bench 375 Pounds’ – How John Lineker Stays So Strong For His Size

While John Lineker rose through the MMA ranks with incredible power, it’s still not something he takes for granted, and he works constantly to make sure it stays with him.

“Hands of Stone” has competed extensively at both flyweight and bantamweight – amassing 17 career knockouts – and there aren’t many of his peers who can match his strength regimen in the gym.

The Brazilian revealed:

“I do specific training so I don’t lose that power in my punches. I do physical preparation work in three periods. First I work on strength, lifting weights above my body weight – I can bench [375 pounds] on the bench press.

“Then I work on muscle power, and the third part of the training, I do functional training, where I work on agility.”

Ultimately, physicality and brute force are clearly high on Lineker’s agenda, but they only form part of the equation in his elite mixed martial arts game.

Skill is his vehicle for delivering his power, and without it, any connection between his fists and the chins of his rivals would be little more than luck.

For that reason, his technical evolution is always going to be a key component of his success:

“I believe a lot in my knockout power. I believe a lot in my punches. But it is clear that without technique, just strength, it would not be possible. I think the two things have to go together.

“So, I think that, even if my strength stands out, the technique also helps to boost my punches.”

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