Bibiano Fernandes will enter the One FC 11 main event on a six-fight winning streak. | Photo: Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
Bibiano Fernandes finds himself one step away from reaching the top of the bantamweight division in Asia.
The decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and former two-division Dream champion will face reigning One Fighting Championship bantamweight titleholder Soo Chul Kim in unification bout at One FC 11 “Total Domination” on Friday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. The event’s undercard will stream live and free to Sherdog.com at 7 a.m. ET/4 a.m. PT.
Fernandes captured the interim One FC bantamweight crown in May, when he took a five-round unanimous decision from Koetsu Okazaki in the Philippines.
“The title itself is just a really nice piece of silverware, but it is what it represents that I am after,” Fernandes said. “Unifying the titles will mean that I am the best in my weight class, and all the top guys will be coming after me. I want to continue to stay at the top of the mountain while facing the best.”
“The Flash” will enter the cage on a string of six consecutive wins, the second longest such streak of his career. Unbeaten in two appearances under the One FC banner, Fernandes has been defeated by only three men: Hiroyuki Takaya, Urijah Faber and Norifumi Yamamoto.
“My first two losses to Faber and Yamamoto are very early in my career,” said Fernandes, a three-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion. “Back then, I was not really training as a mixed martial artist and was only focused on Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Since then, I train striking [and] wrestling to go along with my BJJ. I am sure I can beat all of them, if we ever do a rematch.
“I believe that I have the best ground game in the division, and nobody can submit me,” he added. “I am still training hard, and I continue to get better and improve; there is still room to improve. I will never stop and say, ‘Oh, I am already the best. There is no need to train hard anymore.’ No, there are always things you can improve on, and I am getting better and better at everything.”
Prior to his last outing, Fernandes called for a unification bout with Kim, a promising 21-year-old South Korean prospect on a three-fight winning streak. Kim became the first bantamweight champion in One FC history a little more than a year ago, when he stopped Leandro Issa on second-round punches at One FC 6. Fernandes made it clear he does not believe in game plans, though he admitted he was plenty familiar with his opponent’s skills.
“I think Kim is a good fighter,” he said. “He has some knockout power and a very underrated grappling game, but I don’t think he has anything that I have never seen before. In my fights, I go in there and implement my style, and they must react to me. I don’t wait for him to implement his style.”
The tools that made Fernandes one of the world’s premier bantamweights have only been sharpened by the time he has spent training under Matt Hume at the AMC Pankration camp in Kirkland, Wash. The 33-year-old Brazilian also trains north of the border in nearby Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
“I mainly spar with the guys there like [UFC flyweight champion] Demetrious Johnson and Caros Fodor,” he said. “I also spend some time training in Vancouver, mainly to be closer to my family and spend more time with them. I want to start [my three children] in BJJ, for sure. They already have begun training, and I think they are enjoying it. I do not pressure them to follow my footsteps, though. They are free to chase whatever dream they want to chase.”