UFC News: John Lineker set for ONE Championship debut; shares thoughts about previous promotion
Lineker is coming back to the Octagon with ONE Championship this time and going up against Muin Gafurov for his debut. The promotion wasted no time to make use of the opportunity of scooping up the slugger after UFC ended their contract with Lineker last June.
MMA Junkie reported on what he had to say about his past relationship with UFC and what he expects from his tenure at ONE Championship.
Lineker talks about his time at UFC
“Hands of Stone” had quite a successful run at UFC, but it was not without its share of disruptions, especially when it came to meeting the weight mark. The promotion finally had enough when he stepped back from a fight just days before last June’s UFC on ESPN+ 12 event and cut ties with Lineker after seven years.
But despite things ending on an abrupt note, Lineker says he is thankful for the time and the experience he had over there, and that it was a dream come true.
“Without a doubt, the UFC was a dream come true for me, to be fighting in the world’s biggest promotion. I gained a lot of experience in various aspects. I was able to grow as a fighter, as a professional. I had great battles.”
He went on to say how UFC made him the person and the fighter he is today – someone feared for his hooks and punches.
“I’m very thankful for the seven years I spent there. Those years completely changed my life. They made me who I am today: John ‘Hands of Stone’ Lineker. I’m an aggressive fighter. Most opponents fear my hands. It was a great and satisfying life experience.”
Lineker on his “new home” and next opponent
Leading up to his debut later this month, Lineker is clearly content with his new promotion, ONE Championship and has some good words to say about them.
“I’m very happy to have signed up with ONE. They keep growing. It’s the top organization in Asia. They’re coming on strong. I’m happy with my new home at ONE. I’m looking forward to putting in the work… ONE values fighters for their actual abilities. They don’t encourage trashtalking. It’s great to feel valued like that. I’m very happy and looking forward to starting things out on the right foot.”
While he says that fans can expect to see a John Lineker who is more experienced, more focused and more ready than ever before, he definitely not taking his opponent lightly, especially since Gafurov has won all his bouts either by submission or by knockout.
“Muin Gafurov is a great fighter. He’s very strong and versatile. When he doesn’t feel good standing, he takes the fight to the mat, and if he’s having problems on the mat, he keeps it standing. He’s very complete.”
The fight takes place on October 25 at the event ONE Championship 101: Dawn of Valor, at Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.