John Lineker dismantled Kevin Belingon and Troy Worthen to secure his shot at the ONE Championship belt. He’s not worried about hiding his gameplan for Friday’s clash with bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes in Singapore.
Speaking on a recent episode of MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca, Lineker made it clear he won’t hold anything back when he faces his fellow Brazilian, who holds the record for most title defenses in ONE Championship history.
“He’s fought great fighters in ONE, and I respect Bibiano a lot as a great athlete and champion,” Lineker said. “But I can see he never fought someone with my style and aggressiveness, the way I fight. I’m not intimidated by strikes, I’m not intimidated by anything.
“I’m moving forward the entire time. I know my hands are heavy. I’ve shown that in some fights. So, for sure, this is the first time he’ll fight someone with my style.”
Lineker competed as a flyweight and bantamweight for almost seven years in the UFC, racking up wins over the likes of Marlon Vera, Rob Font, John Dodson, Michael McDonald, and Brian Kelleher. “Hands of Stone” parted ways with the promotion in 2019 following a split decision loss to Cory Sandhagen and has since won three straight in ONE.
“I believe I’ve fought guys in the UFC that are way tougher than the one’s he’s fought,” Lineker said. “[They were] way tougher and more dangerous [than Fernandes’ opponents], and I was able to knock them out.
“[Fernandes and I] are two completely different styles, two guys with very unique skill sets, one on the feet and one on the ground, and we’ve both evolved a lot. But, honestly, I don’t think he’ll stand and trade with me. I’ve believed that story in the past — some fighters said they were going to stand with me, but misled me and took me down. I won’t fall for that anymore. I’m ready. But I’d like to see him do what he said he’d do and trade with me.”
Lineker is open to the idea of moving up to challenge Thanh Le for the ONE featherweight belt in the future. The heavy-hitting striker also campaigned for a chance to box in the future, suggesting a match with former WBA and WBO champion Acelino Freitas, who recently outclassed Brazilian YouTuber Whindersson Nunes in an exhibition bout.
Lineker won’t lose focus on the task ahead, though, which is to take Fernandes’ belt at ONE: Lights Out.
“Everybody knows my style, I don’t hide it,” he said. “Push the pace the entire time and go for the knockout. That’s what I do best, to finish the fight. I don’t like to leave it in judges’ hands. It’s either me or him.”