Former ONE bantamweight champion John Lineker is back, and the Brazilian knockout artist plans to use his “Hands of Stone” to blast his way back into championship contention once again.
Lineker takes on South Korean contender Kim Jae Woong at ONE Fight Night 13 at Lumpinee Stadium, Bangkok, as he bids to erase the memory of his championship loss to compatriot Fabricio Andrade at ONE Fight Night 7 back in February. Since that defeat, Lineker has regrouped and is now ready to resume his assault on the ONE bantamweight division once more.
Chatting during a fight-week Q&A session in Bangkok, Lineker shared his pre-fight thoughts as he looks to earn himself another shot at championship gold.
It’s been nearly six months since you lost the ONE Bantamweight MMA World Title. How have you spent your time away from ONE and competition?
This time away from ONE, I used it to make a good recovery. First in my physique, then in my mind. I reflected on how to get back into the game and how to stay focused, so I worked on that psychological part a lot. My personal life has not changed at all. Thank God, I have been living my life very well with my wife and children. It didn’t change anything.
What parts of your game have you worked on throughout your training camp for Kim Jae Woong?
At the gym, we have been training more, focusing more on what I need to improve. I’ve been trying to perfect myself in everything – boxing, Muay Thai, and jiu-jitsu. I’ve been training a lot. And always focused on my goal, which is to come back strong for the game and fight for the title again.
Talk to us a little bit about Kim. What’s your take on him?
I watched some of his fights and saw that he already beat (former ONE bantamweight champion) Kevin Belingon. His game is boxing; he plays more long distance. He’s very versatile, he works well on takedown defenses, and he’s also a guy who kicks a lot.
But I believe that in striking, we will put on a show because we both like striking more. I believe I’ll be able to fit my punches more, working hard on the punches in the waistline. As I said, he is a striker who works in the long distance, and I like to work more in the short distance, and I believe that I can hit him more with my striking.
What excites you most about this fight?
What excites me the most about this fight, regardless of the opponent, is that I have the opportunity to get back in the game and pursue my goal, which is to fight for the title again. I think that whatever fight I do from now on, what will excite and motivate me is this opportunity to seek the title again. So, regardless of the opponent, my goal is to fight for the World Title again.
You’re known for your immense knockout power, hence the nickname “Hands of Stone.” Do you have any special workouts that you do to build upon your power?
Today, I do specific training so I don’t lose that power in my punches. I do physical preparation work in three periods, where I work on strength, lifting weights above my body weight – I can lift 170kg on the bench press. Then I work on muscle power, and the third part of the training I do is functional training, where I work on agility.
I divide my physical training into three parts – brute strength, muscle power, and finally, functional training. I believe that if the person wants to have a heavy hand, they need to exert a lot of strength. There are physical trainers who put a lot of technique into strength training, so you end up not developing your full potential.
So, from my experience, you have to work on strength to develop the power of your punches. Less technique and more strength. But, of course, do everything so that you don’t get hurt. But be rough in training!
Do you have any advice for Kim and your future opponents?
The advice I give to my opponents is that they are well trained because they are going to face toughness. So, they know they have to work really hard to absorb the blows because when my hand goes in, it hurts. That’s my advice. Be prepared and work hard to absorb blows.