John Lineker wants to regain the ONE bantamweight championship — and he wants the sweet taste of revenge when he achieves it.
“Hands of Stone” captured the ONE belt with a knockout of Bibiano Fernandes in 2022 but missed weight for his first title defense against Fabricio Andrade later that year. The match ended in a no-contest due to an unintentional low blow, and they met again four months later for the vacant title. Andrade won by corner stoppage. Now, Lineker wants it back.
“That’s the focus,” Lineker said on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast. “I told my master, I want to fight Fabricio again.’ I don’t want him to lose the belt until I fight him because I need to fight him again, right? I need to fight him.”
Lineker returns to action Friday at ONE Fight Night 13 in Bangkok, Thailand, against Jae Woong Kim. He promises to “do my job, put on the best fight possible and try to impressed the organization so that they give me an opportunity to fight for the title again.”
“I hope I do a good fight against Jae Woong Kim that puts me right there for another title shot,” he continued. “That’s the focus. The goal is to win the title again. I truly believe this win on Friday will put me on another title fight.”
Kim, nicknamed “The Fighting God,” is 13-7 as a professional MMA fighter. He was victorious in four of his past eight appearances, all by knockout. His list of victims include former ONE champions Kevin Belingon and Martin Nguyen.
“I’ve watched some of his videos and he’s a striker, has good boxing from the outside and tries to throw kicks to the body,” Lineker said of Kim. “I don’t expect him to go for takedowns. I’m focusing on him coming to stand and trade so I can use my boxing and punching power.”
Friday’s fights take place in a ring instead of the traditional ONE cage, and Lineker said he’s better adapted now after facing difficulties during the Andrade rematch since his strategy relied on using the fence to control the Muay Thai specialist and score takedowns.
“I was lost a lot when I fought Fabricio because it was in a ring,” Lineker said. “We don’t have many rings to train in my city, so I got lost during the fight, but now I worked more in the center of the cage so I don’t use the fence. It would obviously be better if it was in a cage, but I had a nice camp this time to fight in a ring.”