John Lineker: ‘I’m the most dangerous fighter in the division’
John Lineker says he is the most dangerous fighter in the bantamweight division. It is a point the UFC veteran will be looking to prove at ONE on TNT Part III which is being broadcast this Wednesday (US time).
Having beaten Kevin Belingon at ONE: ‘Inside the Matrix’ Part III’ the Brazilian now finds himself matched with Troy Worthen. The American was a last minute replacement for Covid-19 stricken Stephen Loman but Lineker doesn’t sound too concerned about the switch,
“I’m the most dangerous ONE bantamweight. Nothing can stop me. I’m motivated and ready. I’ll knock everybody out until I get the title,” he said.
The event will be broadcast on TNT in prime time. It puts Lineker back in front of the American audience, who will be very familiar with him from his UFC career, and the 30 year old is embracing the opportunity,
“I’m very happy to fight in the main event. This responsibility is good. I’m ready, not only for this fight but to become ONE’s world champion,” Lineker says.
The bantamweight belt is currently the property of Bibiano Fernandes who hasn’t fought since 2019 and turned 41 earlier this year. Lineker feels he might be just one win away from a title shot,
“I have had two fights in ONE so far. I’m ready for the title shot. This is the next goal, the next step, and I believe I’m more than ready for this moment.”
Having scored a decision win over Muin Gafurov on his ONE Championship debut Lineker beat Belingon in much more emphatic style. He stopped the former champion in the second round and feels his power make the difference in this fight,
“I realized I was going to knock Belingon out when I started hitting him with body shots. He began to scream (when the body shots landed) so I knew I had found the way to victory and I finished him.”
Belingon is known for his wushu style striking. But the man they call ‘hands of stone’ feels his punching power was simply too much for the Filipino,
“My fight against Belingon was tough. He’s a versatile opponent who kicks a lot, but I frustrated his game plan with my boxing skills,” he said.
With Worthen stepping up at the last minute Lineker understandably did not have too much to say about his new opponent but sounded extremely confident,
“All fights are dangerous, but I’m prepared in all aspects and ready for war. I have great boxing skills and I’m evolving my grappling game,” he said.
Having stopped Belingon last time out he is eager to win inside the distance again on Wednesday,
“Like in my other fights, my goal will be to knock my opponent out. This time won’t be different. I don’t like to leave it in the hands of the judges.”
Fernandes saw a fight with Shoko Sato fall through due to the pandemic and the Japanese bantamweight is no longer a contender after losing to Fabricio Andrade at ONE: ‘Unbreakable’ Part III. It is unclear what is next for the champion but Lineker senses fear in his compatriot,
“Bibiano must fear me because I’m focused on the title shot and I will not stop until I can fight him.”
Having missed weight on several occasions in the UFC’s 125lbs division Lineker now seems to have found a home as a ONE Championship bantamweight. The deal with TNT means he is back in front of an American audience and the Brazilian is determined to put on a show,
“I like all kinds of challenges. Tough fights make me stronger, so come and get it, because I’m always ready. I want to put on a show for the fans.”