Though he currently stands at #4 in the rankings, Fabricio Andrade considers himself the bantamweight MMA division’s top dog.
“Wonder Boy” has been a breakout sensation in ONE Championship, and he plans to take a big step closer to making that vision a reality when he faces #2-ranked Kwon Won Il at ONE 158: Tawanchai vs. Larsen on Friday, 3 June.
This battle of concussive strikers could earn the winner a shot at ONE Bantamweight World Champion John Lineker, but Andrade already feels like the man to beat.
He told ONE Championship:
“I believe I am the uncrowned bantamweight king. It’s been two years since I asked to fight John Lineker, and he literally pretends he doesn’t see it. He’s hiding. He doesn’t want to fight me. And I’ve already faced every opponent ONE sent me.
“I beat Shoko Sato when he was number two in the rankings. I believe I’m the most prepared, toughest guy in the division, who’s always ready to fight anyone. That means I’m already the champion before I even fight for the title.”
Currently riding a six-fight winning streak, the 24-year-old Brazilian has taken out several top-tier opponents since he joined ONE in 2020.
And while the bantamweight ranks are stacked with a number of dangerous contenders, Andrade genuinely thinks there’s nobody who can match him inside the Circle.
“ONE, in recent years, has been signing the best fighters in the world and today, the division is full of great athletes. But my level is different from all these guys [that are ahead of me in the rankings]. I’m on a different level, and I’ve been proving that with every fight. Everyone knows I deserve to be ahead of them in the rankings.”
Fabricio Andrade Ready To Earn World Title Challenge
Beating #2-ranked Kwon Won Il would go a long way toward putting Fabricio Andrade into the ONE Bantamweight World Title showdown he craves.
The top contender spot is currently occupied by former longtime divisional king Bibiano Fernandes, but he was dethroned by John Lineker earlier this year, which means another athlete could earn the next challenge.
Andrade hopes to make his case for that shot with a big victory at ONE 158, and he won’t hesitate to engage with the South Korean slugger.
“Wonder Boy” said:
“Kwon Won Il is trying to cut the line. He knows he doesn’t deserve to be number two in the rankings. He lost to Shoko Sato, while I won, so he knows he doesn’t deserve to be in front of me. So I just want to hit him.
“I know he’s coming from a good winning streak, but if you compare our opponents, you’ll see that my opponents were a lot tougher. He faced guys coming off losses while I was fighting against the best fighters in the division.”
With nine knockouts in 11 career wins, Kwon is a formidable striker who brings the heat to every battle, but Andrade is unfazed by those stand-up skills.
After a pair of first-round finishes, he’s expecting another decisive win over “Pretty Boy” at the Singapore Indoor Stadium – and this time, he doesn’t think Lineker will be able to avoid the consequences.
The confident Brazilian added:
“When we’re face-to-face, Kwon Won Il is going to see a type of striker he’s never seen in his life.
“I believe it will be no different from my last fights. I’m going to start off calm, seeing what he’s going to bring to the fight and, after reading his entire game, I’m going to knock him out or submit him.
“John Lineker has been ducking me for a long time, but after I beat Kwon Won Il, he’ll have to face me. He had already accepted to defend the belt against Kwon Won Il and that just shows that he is a chicken and is looking for an easy fight. After I beat Kwon Won Il, it will be a pleasure to fight him and finish him in the first round.”