(Courtesy of ONE Championship)
Bibiano Fernandes is set to put his ONE bantamweight belt on the line against dual-division champion Martin Nguyen on Saturday at ONE: Iron Will in Bangkok. But first, watch his epic battle with tough veteran Reece Mclaren.
Fernandes rose to prominence fighting in Japan, becoming the Dream featherweight champion. When high profile MMA options in Japan began to dwindle, he was recruited around the globe, and Fernandes nearly signed a deal to fight in the UFC’s Octagon.
In fact, it was widely reported that Fernandes was going to face Roland Delorme at UFC 149 in Canada, but those reports proved to be premature, as the former Dream champion had never put pen to paper on the UFC’s offer.
“Negotiations between UFC and myself did take place; however, we could not resolve the issues on the table and as a result we did not come to an agreement,” Fernandes said at the time.
When he couldn’t get a UFC deal to his liking, Fernandes found a more compatible suitor in ONE Championship (which was known as ONE FC at the time). The rest, as they say, is history.
Fernandes went on win the ONE interim bantamweight title in his second fight for the promotion and the unified the titles in his next bout. He has since defended the ONE bantamweight championship six times.
Though he’s faced the toughest bantamweights on ONE’s roster, Fernandes (21-3) may be facing his toughest test to date when he faces Nguyen at ONE: Iron Will.
Nguyen (9-1) won the promotion’s featherweight championship in August of 2017 then turned around three months later to win the lightweight title, as well. Nguyen is now bidding to become ONE’s first triple-division champion when he faces Fernandes on Saturday.