Ahead of ONE Championship: A New Era which takes place March 31 in Japan, former bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes still doesn’t seem to agree with the decision that saw him lose his title.
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Fernandes (22-4) suffered his first loss since 2010 back in November when Kevin Belingon (20-5) won their title rematch via split decision at ONE: Heart of the Lion to unify the 135-pound belts.
Running in the rematch
Four months on, “The Flash” is yet to be impressed by Belingon’s performance and accused him of “running” throughout the fight while claiming he was the one coming forward and having to chase him.
However, speaking to John Hyon Ko of The Body Lock, Fernandes maintains the loss doesn’t bother him.
“You know what, it’s not bothering me. It’s really not. But the only thing is the way he fights. He’s running too much in the fight, he really did. He spins, he runs away… Let’s fight! Come and bring a show. If I had won the fight like that, it would have been a very boring fight.”
Regardless of how their second fight went, Fernandes will have a chance to regain his title and close the chapter on his rivalry with the Team Lakay product in their trilogy fight.
Having taken some time off to relax with his family following his last outing, the Brazilian was back in training soon after and is confident of becoming champion again.
“Couple of weeks left. I’m excited, I really am. Trust me, I’m excited. I want to see how improved I am, how I come for this fight.”
Training with Demetrious Johnson
One important factor to consider is that for the first time, Fernandes is in camp alongside longtime training partner and former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, who is set to make his ONE debut on the same card.
“We spent like three weeks together for this fight… grappling, sparring. We have each other. He has a lot of knowledge, he’s very smart in the business…”
“We push each other but we also train smart too. We don’t go crazy, we help each other. He push me, I push him. Make sure he has good training, make sure I have good training…”
Best pound-for-pound fighter in the world
While Fernandes will look to regain his title, Johnson will be looking to have a successful debut against Yuya Wakamatsu in the quarterfinals of the ONE Championship Flyweight Grand Prix.
Fernandes not only expects him to emerge victorious in the tournament, but still believes “Mighty Mouse” is the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artist in the world, and that in itself is something the Singapore-based promotion now boasts.
“I think he brings himself. He brings Demetrious Johnson. He is still the best pound-for-pound [fighter in the world]. What he did was break records [most title defenses in UFC history]. No one in history did what he did.”
“He is the best mixed martial artist. That’s another thing I try to explain to people. Mixed martial artist. MMA means mixed… The best mixed martial artist on the planet is Demetrious Johnson.”