Bibiano Fernandes may be about to compete in a hotly-anticipated world champion versus world champion bout at ONE: IRON WILL, but to the man known as “The Flash”, it’s just another day at the office.
The ONE Bantamweight World Champion sat down for a special Q&A session ahead of his 24 March clash with ONE Featherweight and Lightweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, who is moving down a weight class to face him.
To him, Nguyen’s remarkable accomplishments inside the ONE Championship cage wouldn’t count for a thing when the pair meet in the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
Fernandes said he wasn’t overly excited, or concerned, when presented with the offer of a bout with Nguyen. His take was simple - if that’s what ONE and the fans want, then count him in.
“[Nguyen] faced Eduard Folayang, and when he beat him, Chatri [Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship] called me and asked me what I thought about facing Martin Nguyen.
“I said: ‘Of course, if that is what you want’. That is my job, I have to defend my belt. It does not matter who it is, I have to face him.”
You’d usually assume an athlete set to compete against a fellow world champion would be excited or fired up by the prospect, but Fernandes is a different beast, preferring instead to keep things on the level, regardless of the hype surrounding his opponent.
“I am never very excited,” he admits.
“For sure, I want to face him because I want to see how good he is. So I am not excited, but I want to see how good he is, and I want to challenge my skills.”
It’s a challenge that will see him standing across the cage from an athlete who is eight years his junior, and holds the ONE world titles in the next two weight classes above his own.
Fernandes also added that Nguyen’s world championship successes can be attributed to one factor - his one-punch knockout power - and “The Flash” says he has the antidote to that particular venom.
“His main strength is that he is a one-punch guy. If you watch his matches, he has one-punch power. He waits to throw that punch,” he said.
“I faced so many guys in my life with hard punches, and I handled those guys. He has good power, but I have good power, too.
“People think I am a jiu-jitsu guy, but if you look back at my matches, I have dropped people, and I finish people. I do everything.”
Fernandes is riding a 13-bout win streak, with seven of those victories coming inside the distance, and he’s defended his ONE Bantamweight World Title in each of his last six bouts.
A bout with Nguyen - who can make history with victory by becoming the cage’s first-ever three-division world champion - then offers the highest-profile title defence for ONE’s most decorated titleholder.
It’s an opportunity that intrigues Fernandes.
“I have already beaten everybody in the weight class, so when Chatri said Nguyen wanted to come for my belt, I said: ‘Awesome.’ Now, I do not have to face anybody that I have already beaten,” said the Brazilian.
“I think this is a very good opportunity. It is not only good for me, but good for the organisation, and good for the business.”