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“Mentally, I got even stronger” - Bibiano Fernandes unbothered by constant delays of John Lineker fight

Bibiano Fernandes (Left) has stayed ready for John Lineker (Right). | [Photos: ONE Championship/SCMP]
Bibiano Fernandes (Left) has stayed ready for John Lineker (Right). | [Photos: ONE Championship/SCMP]
Ben Imperial

Bibiano Fernandes and John Lineker are finally getting ready to face each other at ONE: Lights Out on March 11. The scheduled headliner for ONE: Bad Blood last month was called off at the last minute because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

The constant delays this fight has endured could no doubt disrupt the mental and physical conditioning of lesser men. However, ‘The Flash’ revealed in a recent interview with ONE Championship that he remains focused and undeterred ahead of his next title defense.

“I’m a professional athlete. I’ve been doing this since I was 14. There are things that are out of my control, but I am a warrior. I am prepared mentally and physically for whatever comes and goes. I went back to my camp and I’m training hard to do a good job on the day of the fight. Mentally, I got even stronger. I’m very well prepared and focused on my goal, which is victory.”

While he was clearly disappointed with yet another postponement of the contest, Bibiano Fernandes ultimately returned to Canada to spend time with his family. However, he continued putting in work and waited for the fight to be rescheduled.

Despite the four-week interval, Fernandes believes that neither he nor Lineker have changed drastically to prepare for their upcoming clash.

“Not much went through my head. It was all quiet. He went back to Brazil, I went back to Canada and the fight was rescheduled. I'm just more focused and analyzing what I'm going to do in the fight. What he had to train, he has already trained. What I had to train, I have already trained. We are prepared for the fight. What happens now will be fate. In my opinion, the extra time now won't make a difference to anyone.”

The history behind Bibiano Fernandes and John Lineker's beef

Bibiano Fernandes and John Lineker have been going at each other for months.

Lineker made his ONE debut in October 2019 and has collected three straight victories, including a second-round stoppage of former world champion Kevin Belingon. In June 2021, he challenged Fernandes for the world title through a Facebook post. This was not received too well by Fernandes, who alleged that Lineker was creating hype for a “rivalry that never existed.”

The two were originally set to meet at the promotion’s 10-year anniversary show, ONE X, which was then scheduled for December 2021. The rivalry was soon brewing between the two, with Fernandes claiming that Lineker was all talk.

While the event was moved to a later date in 2022, the tension between the two proud Brazilians has not diminished. Lineker even shared that he’s continuing his preparations to take the bantamweight throne from Bibiano Fernandes.

When the pair were announced to headline ONE: Bad Blood, it was almost too perfect as it encapsulated their feelings towards the matchup. Unfortunately, it was derailed by COVID-19.

Now that they’re scheduled to fight at ONE: Lights Out on March 11, will they finally look eye-to-eye inside the Circle? Only time will tell.


Edited by Harvey Leonard

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