One of the most dominant fighters in ONE Championship history is upset.
Bibiano Fernandes, who reigns in the company’s bantamweight division for over eight years — with a small hiccup briefly avenged —, hasn’t been seen in the circular cage since October 2019, when he won his fourth encounter with Kevin Belingon.
Eager to compete again and defend his throne, “The Flash” blasts the company for allegedly putting his career on hold for no apparent reason.
“I’m trying to negotiate with them for almost two years, trying to understand the situation,” Fernandes said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “It’s been almost two years that I’m trying to figure this out with them, waiting for them to get back to me and make a decision [about my next fight] and get a deal done, but it looks like they have freezed me, they put me on hold.
“I don’t know, maybe I said something they didn’t like. I have no idea, brother, but this isn’t a pleasant situation. Two years without a fight. I’m their most dominant champion and I’m sidelined. I don’t know… The truth is, brother, I’m looking for the answer as to why I’m in this situation and can’t find it.”
Fernandes competes under the ONE banner since 2012, racking up an impressive record of 12-1 that including three wins over Belingon, the only guy to hand him a loss. Despite his long relationship with the Asian company, “The Flash” says he’s still “waiting for them to contact me” and set up another title defense.
“I can’t have any communication with them,” Fernandes said. “I think they are too busy. I don’t know what’s going on. I try to get in touch with them, they say they will try to make something happen, and then they just go through the motions. They never ask me, ‘Ok, Bibiano, what do you need? How can we solve this situation? That’s the situation I’m in right now.”
Fernandes says he’s currently in shape to defend his belt “in six or eight weeks.” It’s unclear who would be the next in line for the bantamweight gold, but UFC veteran John Lineker has made a great case for a shot after back-to-back knockout wins in ONE.
“I’m trying to fight for a while now,” Fernandes said. “I want to go back and fight as soon as possible but the situation I’m in right now, I don’t know what their schedule for me. If you have any idea please tell me, ask them to call me, because, honestly, I have no idea.”
“They have to sit down with me and talk and try to solve this situation,” he continued. “[People] think I’m running [from Lineker or other fighters] but I’m not, I training every single day here. I have my responsibilities at home, my things to work out, and my career is on hold for two years. I threw away two years of my career.”