ONE Championship™ (ONE) athletes, reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes and his opponent #1-ranked bantamweight contender John “Hands of Stone” Lineker, as well as reigning ONE Featherweight World Champion Thanh Le and his opponent #3-ranked featherweight contender Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon, spoke to the media ahead of their blockbuster matchups at ONE X.
Hosted by ONE commentator Michael Schiavello, the four athletes went head-to-head in virtual faceoff interviews. Hear from them before they step inside the Circle at ONE X on 5 December.
He said he’s going to ‘beat Bibiano.’ Beat me? No. You are going to try to beat me because a lot of guys have tried. A lot of guys said they could beat me, no problem, let them try one more time. Let him come and I will do what I did previously again and protect my belt. My friend, you told me you’re going to knock me out too. A lot of people give me attitude, I’m about to knock you out, that’s my goal.
I don’t see his confidence. If you look at him, he doesn’t look confident. He looks pretty big also and that’s what I have said in the past, it’s hard for him to make weight. Maybe he won’t even make weight. In the past, when he fought T.J. Dillashaw, they had a good fight but he didn’t make the weight. He’s supposed to make the weight. From how I see it, that’s not professional. I always make weight. I know it is in the past and you have to move forward, but you still have to learn from the past. The way I see it, I am ready to go. I can fight him tomorrow.
I’m looking forward to being the champion at ONE Championship. If it’s going to be him, so be it. Bibiano owns the belt, I want the belt, so I want to beat him. He has the belt and I want the belt. I want to be the champion.
He’s the champion, I respect him but he said he is going to knock me out and you know, a lot of fighters said that they are going to knock me out. But he has never fought with a guy like me before, so we will see. I’m always looking for the knockout, if it is going to be in the first round, all good. If not, I’ll look out for a KO in any other rounds.
I think as I’ve shown in my previous fights and movements, well, I think I do a good job of making sure that openings come. I think I’m going to do a good job of keeping him in an uncomfortable state while he’s on the feet and open that opportunity and try to land that money shot.
I’d say it’s a little less about him and more about what I plan on creating and what I plan on doing with my game plan and my openings. Obviously, he’s making big jumps in his striking. I’ve made big jumps in my grappling. Do I think if we did a grappling match I would submit him? Probably not. Do I think that if we end up two to three rounds on the feet that he’s going to be able to withstand or not catch a shin to the dome? I don’t think so. That’s obviously why we’re in there, we’re trying to find this [expletive] out. We got to battle it out and figure it out.
I would say, second-round submission via rear-naked choke, that would be my guess. I think he’s going to be able to scramble out of a lot of things. I think it’s going to be tough to submit him in the first round. I think he’s going to get really tired. I think by the second round, I would have worn him down enough that I get to his back and that’s it.
I think relatively highly of myself and yeah, I think I bring a higher level of grappling to the table than he brings striking. But at the end of the day, the real question is, does that matter? And the answer, I don’t think so. I think it’s no. I think that regardless if there’s a difference between the levels of striking and the levels of grappling, either man can get caught.