Last week, one of the world’s leading bantamweights, top ten ranked John Lineker, was released from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Rumors abounded in the mixed martial arts community as to why “Hands of Stone” was released from the promotion. His performances were definitely not an issue, as the perennial 135-pound contender he compiled a record of 12-4 inside the Octagon since his debut in 2012. The 29-year-old has 14 knockout wins to name, and a fan-friendly style to match, which can cause problems for any bantamweight on the planet.
His seven-year stint with the UFC saw him earn wins over top bantamweights such as John Dodson, Ian McCall, and Rob Font.
“I think it was because he hasn’t made weight a few times,” stated the UFC President.
“I just know the matchmakers were super frustrated with him. The guy wasn’t being professional,” White added.
“When you don’t make it to the octagon either a bunch of times, it’s a waste of everybody’s time, energy, and money. We expect guys to be professional, do what they’re supposed to do; show up. The matchmakers were done – they had it.”
The Brazilian’s last octagon outing didn’t quite go to plan – he dropped a contentious split-decision to highly touted prospect Cory Sandhagen in April, and was expected to make a quick turnaround. Instead, after withdrawing from a short-notice rematch against Rob Font, he was released from the promotion.
Not to fear, as Lineker has found a new home in ONE Championship.
“Hands of Stone” broke the news on his Twitter, which was subsequently confirmed by MMAFighting, on Monday, revealing that he had inked a multi-fight deal with Asia’s leading mixed martial arts organization.
“ I will answer all the questions out there about myself in the Ring! People will be changing the channel to watch me fight! I will continue to do what I love! Fight and put on a show! Thank you 1 for having me! @Alexdavismma @ONEChampionship
— John Lineker (@johnlineker) July 8, 2019
His debut is yet to be finalized, but expect to see the knockout artist returning to competition by the end of the year.
ONE’s bantamweight division, which is officially listed as the 145-pound division, features a smattering of world-class talent. The division boasts the likes of champion Bibiano Fernandes, former champion Kevin Belingon, top prospect Muin Gafurov, and more.