Stephen Loman believes he has what it takes to get a career-defining victory against Brazilian legend Bibiano Fernandes.
The No.3 bantamweight contender watched how John Lineker took the ONE bantamweight world title from Fernandes back in March with a devastating second-round knockout.
Loman said in an interview with ONE Championship that he took cues from Lineker's victory. One thing he saw is the need to pressure Fernandes in every facet of mixed martial arts.
Stephen Loman said:
“It’s about pressuring him. Could be in striking, wrestling, or on the ground. It’s all the facets of MMA.”
Lineker and Fernandes were locked in an intense back-and-forth during their match, and it wasn’t until the latter half of the second round that ‘Hands of Stone’ found his opening.
The 31-year-old Lineker constantly pushed forward against Fernandes, eventually landing a brutal left hook that dropped the once longtime bantamweight king.
Loman, who’s 2-0 in ONE Championship, said that while Fernandes lost his title to Lineker, ‘The Flash’ is still one of the most dangerous fighters in the sport.
Fernandes had two lengthy reigns with the ONE bantamweight world championship. The first one lasted 1,848 days from 2013 to 2018, while the second one went on for 1,076 days from 2019 to 2022.
The Team Lakay star said that Fernandes’ legacy in the sport is already intact and no loss will ever diminish it.
“I don’t think so. He’s still the champion Bibiano that we know. He still has that striking and wrestling prowess, that superb control over his opponent on the ground, and submission maneuvers. He didn’t rust at all.”
Stephen Loman won’t fight Kevin Belingon
Stephen Loman has quickly cemented himself as one of the top bantamweights in ONE Championship, but he’s not the only Team Lakay fighter sitting in the top five of the division.
Former ONE bantamweight world champion Kevin Belingon, who was once a thorn in Fernandes’ side, is the No.5 contender and is still a viable competitor for the title.
Despite both of them being at the top of the division, Loman refuses to fight Belingon inside the circle.
“We’re on the same team, the same family. It’s a no for me,” said Loman.
Although he refuses to fight his teammate, Loman stresses that his main goal is to one day become the undisputed king of the bantamweights. He knows that a world title in ONE Championship will cement his legacy in MMA.
“I’m more than 100 percent ready to fight for the title if they offer me the fight. I will pour my everything into it. This is my grail, to be the next title-holder, and follow the footsteps of my seniors who became world champions in their division.”