John Lineker

John Lineker is the new ONE Championship bantamweight champion

John ‘Hands of Stone’ Lineker has had quite a remarkable career, spanning back to a 2008 debut.

There have been some trials and errors along the way, but John Lineker is now a world champion in his new promotion of ONE Championship, claiming the title at ONE Championship: Lights Out this past weekend on March 11.

After going 6-5 throughout his first 11 bouts, he then won his next 13-straight, en route to claiming the Jungle Fight bantamweight championship. This awarded him a shot in the UFC back in 2012, when they first created the flyweight division.

Though he lost his promotional debut to a TUF alum, he’d go 6-1 in his next seven outings, including four knockouts within the flyweight division, only losing to Ali Bagautinov in a No. 1 contender fight.

However, Lineker missed weight in three of those bouts, and also missed weight in his UFC debut.

That’s a weight miss in four of eight appearances.

As a result, Lineker was forced to move up to the bantamweight division, where he first submitted Francisco Rivera in an all-out war. That fight only lasted 2:08 into the first round but go back and see just why he was awarded Fight of the Night honors for it.

This was followed up by a dominant unanimous decision victory over Rob Font, before he’d run straight through former title challenger Michael McDonald, knocking him out midway through round one.

Next came a five-round decision victory over former two-time title challenger John Dodson, a bout he also missed weight in, before he was defeated by TJ Dillashaw, a fight he was out-wrestled throughout.

Lineker would then defeat Marlon Vera (UD) and Brian Kelleher (KO), before losing a razor-thin split decision to Cory Sandhagen. He would then depart with the promotion and sign with ONE Championship, where he’s also had a load of success.

Four-straight victories have followed over the likes of Muin Gafurov (UD), Kevin Bellington (TKO), Troy Worthen (KO), and most recently Bibiano Fernandes (KO), which saw him claim the ONE bantamweight championship.

Fernandes is an absolute legend, an 11-time ONE champion, and he’s also a former DREAM featherweight champion.

Gafurov was 16-2 coming into their bout, Bellington was 20-7, and was the most recent man to defeat Fernandes, Worthen was 7-1, and Fernandes was 24-4.

Lineker’s run got a little rocky there for a few years, though he consistently put out high level performances. He just had issues making weight consistently, missing a total of five times within the UFC.

That being said, he went 6-2 in the fights that were intended to be contested at 126 lbs, and he also went 6-2 at 136 lbs, only losing to Dillashaw and Sandhagen, the arguable bantamweight goat and a fellow top contender to this day.

It’s no surprise he’s a world champion now, it’s just a beautiful thing to see.

With the way Lineker fights, who doesn’t want to see him against the very best talents possible. He has one of the best chins we’ve ever seen in this sports history, totaling 44 bouts (35-9) without a knockout loss.

What’s more, throughout his 16 UFC bouts, he didn’t even suffer one knockdown, and he’s a heavy-handed knockout artist himself that comes to fight hard every single time.

It’s incredible to think this man is still just 31 years old, turning 32 in June. How many more spectacular fights are we in for?

Bibiano Fernandes vs John Lineker full fight

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