‘Hands of Stone’ John Lineker will soon battle ‘Wonder Boy’ Fabricio Andrade for the vacant ONE Bantamweight World Title. It is a highly anticipated rematch between two knockout strikers. The battle of the Brazilians is booked for ONE Fight Night 7 on February 24 and will be broadcast on Amazon Prime Video.
Lineker is a highly accomplished MMA veteran with heavy hands. ‘Hands of Stone’ fought Andrade at the end of 2022 but the fight ended as a No Contest officially due to an inadvertent groin strike. Now, Lineker and Andrade are running it back with the bantamweight throne on the line.
Ahead of his world championship showdown, ‘Hands of Stone’ John Lineker spoke with Tim Wheaton of MMA Sucka in an exclusive interview.
Exclusive interview with ‘Hands of Stone’ John Lineker
First of all, congratulations on the birth of Eloah! How many more kids are planned?
Thank you very much! A beautiful princess was born, thank God. But now I closed the factory (laughs). For now I don’t intend to have more children, but who knows in the future.
The win over Bibiano Fernandes was very impressive, is it your favorite knockout?
This victory certainly meant a lot to me. Without a doubt it’s my favorite knockout, because it was a great battle for the belt. For all that, I put it as my favorite knockout win. It was a moment of great happiness. It was at that moment that I saw that all my effort and all the battles I had faced up until then were worth it.
What did it mean to hold the ONE bantamweight world championship?
You being the champion, being the title holder, is something very important. It’s a very good feeling, it’s something incredible. But it also becomes a very big responsibility. When you are the champion, you become the target of all other fighters. But it’s gratifying to know that other people want what you have.
At ONE Fight Night 7 on Prime Video you will be battling Fabricio Andrade for the vacant throne, what do you think of his ongoing trash talk?
I’m a guy who doesn’t care for that kind of provocation. I don’t even see what he’s talking about. My focus is inside the cage. If he’s talking, he’s not talking to me, because it’s indifferent and doesn’t change anything for me.
What was your biggest takeaway from the Andrade fight over the first three rounds?
I saw that I can beat him. After our first fight, I saw that there are many gaps in his game that I can exploit. I saw that I can work on my game better. So, that was the biggest lesson I learned from that fight, that I can do some things better in my game and come out with the win in this rematch.
How do you envision this one ending?
I imagine myself imposing my game. I won’t fight so still this time. I’m going to move more, work better at distance, which is where I had the most difficulty. I imagine an ending with my knockout victory.
Once you win the world title, is there a top contender you have your eyes on or are you looking at a super fight potentially against someone like Demetrious Johnson?
It’s a bit of a difficult question to answer. Especially because my fight against Fabrício hasn’t happened yet. I’m going to win and take back the title. So, at the moment I’m not thinking about other opponents or superfights. Of course, in the future I want to do some superfights, but now I’m focused on this fight against Fabrício, I’m focused on the title fight.
What’s your prediction for Demetrious Johnson vs Adriano Moraes 3?
I believe in Adriano Moraes’ victory. I’ve trained with him and I know his potential, especially on the ground. So, if he takes down Demetrious Johnson, he can definitely win. I’m betting on a victory for Adriano Moraes by submission.
There is an incredible legacy of combat sports in Brazil, who were your biggest inspirations in combat sports?
I was inspired by Acelino “Popó” Freitas (four-time boxing world champion). He was my great inspiration for me to start practicing a sport. Then, in MMA, it was Wanderlei Silva. His aggressive style, a guy who really threw down… He was my biggest inspiration in MMA.
Do you have any advice for others entering this sport?
My first piece of advice is to give your dreams to God and no one else. Afterwards, you need to dedicate yourself and focus on what you want for your life. It’s difficult, it’s not easy, but when we set a goal, have focus and determination, we achieve it. Even if many say you are not capable, always believe in yourself.