ONE Championship bantamweight titleholder Bibiano Fernandes is ready for a new challenge.
Fernandes, fresh off a year-long rivalry with Team Lakay’s Kevin Belingon, knows who he would like to face next, but it’s a name that unfortunately for fans is not likely to appear opposite “The Flash” anytime soon.
“For me, if you ask ‘Bibiano, what kind of guy do you want to fight today?’ I would say [Henry] Cejudo. Because he is the champion and it would be a good fight,” Fernandes said in an interview with Sherdog’s Jason Burgos.
“That would be a challenge for me; that would motivate me okay, he’s the best in the UFC.”
At 40-years-old Fernandes has racked up an impressive 23-4 record, and while he is aware he is unlikely to cross paths with Cejudo, there is another UFC veteran, in John Lineker, whom he could be trading leather with soon.
Lineker announced his arrival at ONE last October with a unanimous decision victory over Muin Gafurov. The hard-hitting Brazilian has yet to impact the ONE rankings system, but if he were to get a couple of wins under his belt, then ” Hands of Stone” could soon be knocking on the door for a title shot.
It is an exciting fan-friendly matchup, and one Fernandes is happy to entertain.
” John Lineker can be a good fight, but the thing is I don’t say ‘I want this guy, I want that guy’ because really it’s ONE Championship’s decision. At the end of the day, they have to make that decision, and I have to sit with my manager, and I sit with my coach and say yes or no.” Fernandes said.
“For Lineker, if he wants to fight me, yes, it would be a good fight to fight that guy. He has a good name. He has fought in the UFC, and it would be a very good challenge for me too.”
The ONE veteran is also open to the idea of moving to featherweight but is not in any rush to chase champ-champ status just yet.
“I have to play the game very smart here; its a game, don’t forget. MMA is a game you have to understand the way you want to play. When you know the way you want to play, it’s easy, but when you don’t know, it can get very difficult,” he exclaimed.
” I have an interest in fighting at featherweight and see how I will do there, but not now, let’s see what happens in the future.”
Fernandes estimates he has another two or three years left before he rides off into the MMA sunset, giving fans just enough time to see him take on the latest crop of bantamweight contenders before making a run at featherweight.
Would you be keen to see Fernandes move up to featherweight?