MACAU – Bibiano Fernandes has accomplished everything he has set out to do at ONE Championship.
The 37-year old bantamweight out of Brazil has won all of his nine fights in the organization and is seven out of seven in title fights to cement his status as arguably the greatest fighter in ONE’s short history and one of the best in the world.
For fighters this dominant, motivation – or lack thereof – is usually the biggest roadblock but Fernandes (20-3) insists that he has no plans of letting up despite his huge accomplishments.
“At this point I just want to improve, improve and improve. Every time I step into the cage, I still want to evolve as a fighter,” said Fernandes in the Kings and Conquerors presscon on Thursday at the Venetian Cotai.
“I’m ready for my next fight,” he added.
If he wants to keep his title, he better be ready as he faces a hungry, young challenger in Andrew Leone (8-2) who has dedicated his life to mixed martial arts, having relocated to Bali from the United States to focus on his training.
Leone has repeatedly said that he’s gonna be the first fighter to beat Fernandes in the organization and that might just be enough of a motivation for Fernandes to keep pushing himself even at this point of his career.
“I’m excited for the fight. I’m going to bring my best to this fight. I’m going to bring my best jiu-jitsu. I’m a disciplined fighter, I work hard and I do my best in training. My opponent says he can defeat me, well let’s see.”
While Fernandes will be fighting for his legacy - Leone will be coming into this match looking to make the most out of the opportunity to do what nine other men in the organization failed to do.
With a mix good striking and a decent ground game, he hopes to beat all odds in Asia’s gambling capital and cash in years of hardwork and sacrifices on Saturday.
“This is obviously a very good opportunity for me. I am training with the best people in the world in Bali for this,” he said.
“Bibiano has been a champion for a long time and I respect him. It’s going to be a tough night but I look forward to it. I’m heading to Saturday to try and win a world championship.”