It was once deemed impossible, but John Lineker was not one to listen.
Bibiano Fernandes was seen as such an unstoppable force of nature that knocking him out was almost a preposterous proposition. Lineker, however, did just that to snatch away the ONE bantamweight world title back in March.
Lineker is aware that what he did was one of the most monumental victories in the history of ONE Championship. Call it by fate or by the will of God, but ‘Hands of Stone’ did things his way.
In an Instagram post, Lineker shared his life’s mentality and how struggle ultimately creates the best of warriors.
“Each person's journey is a tortuous path full of obstacles. Nothing comes easy. And it is in these moments that we need to insist and never give up; these are the moments that test our ability to fight for what we most desire.”
Lineker was flying in his first three fights at ONE Championship, taking dominant wins over Muin Gafurov, former ONE bantamweight world champion Kevin Belingon, and Troy Worthen. It was this three-fight winning streak that pushed him to a title match against Fernandes.
So much intrigue surrounded the match between the two Brazilian maulers, with both of them vehemently expressing their displeasure with each other.
On one hand was Lineker, who was hell-bent on cementing his place in the promotion, and on the other was Fernandes. ‘The Flash’ was one of the most dominant bantamweights in the world, with an incredible 12-1 record in ONE Championship. His lone loss was against his rival Belingon.
Their feud reached fever pitch at ONE: Lights Out and John Lineker made sure that the card’s title was a fitting name for his victory against Fernandes.
Heading into the final minute of the second round, Lineker landed a brutal left hook that sent Fernandes crashing into the canvas. Fernandes’ reign was toppled and John Lineker was heading into his title reign with the knowledge of defeating the division’s boogeyman.
What’s next for John Lineker?
John Lineker’s next order of business is now to go on a lengthy reign, but that might be easier said than done.
The bantamweight division has two former champions in its top-five rankings, with Fernandes holding the No.1 contender spot, while Belingon is at No.5.
The bantamweight rankings also have three rising stars on the list, two of which are undefeated in the promotion. No. 2 contender Kwon Won Il is on a three-fight knockout streak, while No.3 man Stephen Loman and No.4 Brazilian Fabricio Andrade are perfect so far into their ONE Championship tenures.
Lineker has no fight lined up yet, but judging from his previous match and the division’s penchant for explosiveness, his next title defense should be a guaranteed classic.