Q and A With One Championship’s Bantamweight Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes
What’s good fight fans? Today I had the chance to sit down with ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes. Fernandes defended his title on August 5, 2017, at ONE: Kings & Conquerors in Macao, China. Let’s take a seat with one of the greatest bantamweights to ever compete and learn a little more about him.
Bibiano: For me, this sport is everything. When I was younger, growing up in Brazil was hard. I could have gone a different path. A lot of the youth in Brazil are exposed to the hardships of life, but then I discovered jiu-jitsu and it changed my life. I spent a lot of time in the gym. I trained there, I slept there, I had nowhere else to go. Today, I’m successful because of those experiences. I will forever be a fighter. It is who I am. No matter what comes in life, I will always fight on, for my family, for my friends, and for myself
Nick: What do you think is your best attribute as a fighter?
Bibiano: I think the best attribute I have as a fighter is my perseverance and will to win. I have experienced so much in my life. There were times that I was close to giving up, but I pushed through and I survived. Broken nose, broken arm, broken rib, whatever it is, I grit my teeth and push through. That is why I am still champion today. I also constantly improve my skills. Every day is a learning experience. Every day there is an opportunity to grow and improve as a martial artist.
Nick: August 5, 2017, at ONE: Kings & Conquerors you faced a tough opponent in Andrew Leone. Do you think your opponent was caught off guard early due to your aggressive approach to the fight from the opening bell?
Bibiano: I have worked a lot on my stand up and it is one of the aspects of my game that make me successful. This is a very intricate sport. You can’t just focus on the grappling aspect. It can’t just be jiu-jitsu. So enhancing my striking was really important for me. This gave me the confidence to rush [Andrew] Leone and try to force the action.
Nick: At one point you chased your opponent across the cage and got him in the clinch. You landed a hard knee to his abdomen which made him slump over to the canvas. Did you know at that point that the finish would be soon to follow?
Bibiano: I knew the knee hurt him so from there I could sense the finish. I saw the opening and grabbed the opportunity. It is very hard to defend from a choke after you get the wind sucked out of you from a knee to the body. Leone is a tough guy, but no one could recover from that.
Nick: You had an amazing transition to secure the rear naked choke which caused your opponent to tap. How much of your training do you focus on jiu-jitsu and making transitions as smooth as possible?
Bibiano: Jiu-jitsu is part of my everyday life. It is the martial art that I practice firstly and I really enjoy it, whether I am competing or not. You can say, jiu-jitsu saved my life. It really is true. Without jiu-jitsu, I won’t be where I am today.
Nick: This was your seventh title defense and your thirteenth win in a row. Who would you like to get in the cage with next?
Bibiano: Whoever they put in front of me, I am willing to fight. I take on all challengers. I am happy with my career. I am happy with ONE Championship. I feel great. I feel like I am the best in the world. I can fight anyone, anytime. Just bring it.
Nick: Can we expect to see you fight again in 2017?
Bibiano: It is up to ONE Championship, I leave the matchmaking to the promoters. My job is to go in there and perform. If I get another fight in 2017, then I will gladly accept. I am happy inside of the cage.
Nick: You were scheduled to fight in the UFC one time and the fight was cancelled. You are arguably the best bantamweight in the world that is not on the UFC roster. Do you have plans to compete in the UFC at some point in your career or have you found your home with One?
Bibiano: They have their own opinion about it, and they have the right to express how they feel about it. I just found my golden opportunity in Asia. When you talk about martial arts, Asia is the home of martial arts. It has been the home of martial arts for the last 5,000 years. There are homegrown martial arts in every single country in Asia: Japan has Karate, Aikido and Judo. Meanwhile, Korea has Taekwondo. On the other hand, Thailand has Muay Thai. China has Kung Fu, while Russia has Sambo. It’s really very rich in history, but nobody has ever attempted to unify the continent this way. ONE Championship made it happen to celebrate the beauty of martial arts. Being part of the organization’s growth is such an honor. I train every day hard. I train hard. I have discipline. I do everything I have to do, so that my performance is good come fight night. I don’t only train hard, but I also train smart. I try to be very wise. That’s my job. It’s what have been doing for 21 years.
Bibiano would like to thank everyone who has supported him. Sponsors, family, friends, and especially One Championship.
I enjoyed speaking with the champ today. He is as humble as he is great. I hope to see him in the cage sooner than later. It is always a great fight. Signing off for NickPortellaMMA.com. @NickPortellaMMA