After leaving the UFC following a decision loss to Cory Sandhagen in April 2019, John Lineker elected to sign with Singapore-based promotion One Championship.
That decision has paid off to the tune of successive victories over Muin Gafurov, Kevin Belingon and Troy Worthen to begin his promotional tenure. As a result, “Hands of Stone” will get his chance to fight for the bantamweight (145-pound) belt against countryman Bibiano Fernandes on Dec. 5.
“He offended me personally with some statements, but I took it professionally,” Lineker told Sherdog.com. “I don’t like trash talking — my answer will be given in the fight.
“I have no doubt Bibiano is a great champion, but this is my turn. That´s the moment I´ve always dreamed,”Lineker continued. “He is one of the best jiu-jitsu fighters in MMA. For sure the best jiu-jitsu fighter I´ve ever faced, but the fight starts standing up, and I'm going to look for the knockout from the opening second. I´m sure he’s never faced someone with the power I have in my hands. He will face a stone rain.”
Lineker lived in Florida and trained at American Top Team for 16 months until he decided to visit his family in Paranagua, Brazil, following his victorious debut in One in October 2019.
“I was stranded by the pandemic here. Thank God I have a great training structure in Paranagua that allowed me to have two very good camps as well as I the one I will have for Bibiano,” he said.
Despite a successful run in the UFC, Lineker hasn’t had any regrets about his choice to find a new organization in which to compete.
“I´m feeling at home, happy and satisfied here in One,” Lineker said.
As someone with experience against both Sandhagen and T.J. Dillashaw, Lineker was an interested observer when they squared off this past July at UFC on ESPN 27, with Dillashaw capturing a split-decision triumph. The Brazilian didn’t necessarily agree with the final verdict, however.
“It was pretty clear to me Sandhagen won that one,” Lineker said.
After seeing Dillashaw pass a difficult test after more than two years away from the sport, Lineker believes his former foe will become UFC champion once again.
“I see Petr Yan beating Aljamain [Sterling], but I believe Dillashaw is a more complete fighter who has more weapons against the Russian,” Lineker said.
With boxing as his primary style, Lineker has dreams of One allowing him to cross over into the Sweet Science like MMA stars such as Conor McGregor, Vitor Belfrot, Anderson Silva and Tyron Woodley have recently done.
“That would be like a dream coming true,” Lineker said. “I truly hope the boss allows me to do that.”
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