John Lineker endured a rough February, but the Brazilian MMA star could make his recent setback worthwhile by winning the ONE Bantamweight World Title this Friday, 11 March.
Lineker was originally scheduled to settle his heated rivalry with compatriot and reigning bantamweight king Bibiano Fernandes at ONE: BAD BLOOD last month, but a positive COVID-19 diagnosis forced the clash to be postponed.
Instead, their World Title bout will be contested at ONE: LIGHTS OUT this week, which gave “Hands of Stone” ample time to recover for his matchup at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
While Lineker was worried that the disease and the extended time on the sidelines would ruin his mojo, it turns out the change of plans was a blessing in disguise.
He told ONE Championship:
“I thought the fact that the fight was postponed would harm me, but thank God, it didn’t harm me at all. Not even the trip, which is a long trip, got in my way. I continued training and managed to keep myself at a high level. My physical condition is 100 percent, and I managed to improve my technique a little more and also better analyze my fight strategy. In the end, this postponement turned out to be positive.”
“Hands of Stone” exudes confidence, but so does Fernandes, who recently opined that his challenger doesn’t have dangerous striking and that he’s not very good on the ground.
Lineker clearly disagrees, and he believes his resume backs it up. After all, he owns a 34-9 professional mixed martial arts record, with nearly half those victories coming via knockout.
And if the 31-year-old has his way on Friday night, he’ll add another KO to his slate and claim World Title gold in the process.
“I always look for the knockout. I don’t like to leave it to the judges’ decision because you never know what might happen. My intention in this fight is to seek the knockout. I intend to knock him out fast. I don’t want to extend this fight too long. But a fight is a fight. We have a plan, but like I said, it can change during the fight. But my focus, my goal is this – to seek the knockout all the time and not leave it in the judges’ hands.”Lineker on his matchup with Fernandes
Could John Lineker Follow Demetrious Johnson’s Lead And Fight A ONE Super Series World Champion?
John Lineker is completely focused on his upcoming ONE Bantamweight World Title fight this Friday, but he would also like to follow in the footsteps of MMA GOAT Demetrious Johnson.
Johnson will face reigning ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon in a special rules super-fight at ONE X on 26 March, and their contest will alternate between Muay Thai and MMA rounds.
That unique rule set has captured the imagination of Lineker, who would love to put his “Hands of Stone” to the ultimate test against a titleholder in ONE Super Series, the promotion’s all-striking league.
He told ONE Championship:
“I’m definitely interested in doing a super-fight with those kind of rules. It would be really fun. A round of just striking without worrying about being taken down? I would feel at home. I would definitely be up for a super-fight with those rules.”
The Brazilian says he would jump at the chance to battle ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion Capitan Petchyindee, adding, “It would be great if I had that opportunity.”
But whether it’s Capitan or legendary ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, Lineker is confident he could shut off the lights of both bantamweight kings in ONE Super Series.
“I’m a striker. I have the ability to knock out anyone. It would definitely be an interesting fight because I wouldn’t be worried about the takedowns. I would use 100 percent of my boxing. I believe I can knock them out.”
A super-fight is certainly fun to think about, but first, Lineker must get past Fernandes and become a ONE World Champion this Friday at ONE: LIGHTS OUT.