Rob Font ready to take out John Lineker at UFC on ESPN+ 12 and move into title contention

For bantamweight Rob Font, his win over Sergio Pettis at UFC on FOX 31 last December might not have come in the manner he would have liked, but closing out his 2018 going 2-1 was better than possibly closing it out 1-2.

“It was a great fight,” Font told “I had a blast out there. I thought the fight went good. I controlled him with the jab. I didn’t get the finish, but I had fun, and got good cage experience and got the W.”

Since the victory over Pettis, Font feels like his game has grown quite a bit, especially in the grappling aspect of it.

“I’m consistently improving daily,” said Font. “I really feel like my wrestling and my confidence in my wrestling has gone through the roof. I feel like a whole different fighter from six months ago.”

On Friday in Greenville, South Carolina, Font (16-4) will be looking for a bit of revenge when he faces late replacement John Lineker (31-9) in the 135-pound co-main event of UFC on ESPN+ 12.

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“When we fought the first time I was playing too much to the crowd,” Font said. “It was 40,000 people screaming, and I wasn’t me and lost focus real early. I wasn’t fighting my fight, I was fighting his fight. I wasn’t me.

“I feel like this time around I’ve got to go out there and have fun, do what I know what I can do, and go out there and get the W in any way possible. I wasn’t prepared (in the first one) to fight a three-round smart fight, but this time I’m prepared.”

Originally slated to face Cody Stamann at UFC on ESPN+ 12, Font feels the change of opponent won’t be a big deal for him as he’s faced this situation more times than not in his career.

“It’s always changed on me at the last minute, so since my debut I’ve learned to focus on me and not focus too much on my opponent and their styles,” said Font.

“The way I look at it, whoever I fight is going to try punch me, so try not to get punched; they’re going to try to take me down, so don’t get taken down; if they’re going to try to kick, block the kick. I go out there and react and have fun.”

For the second half of 2019, Font would like to get a big fight near his home base or at least make some headway in the bantamweight division and close out the year near the top of the rankings.

“I’ve heard rumors they’re coming to Boston, so I’d like to get a big fight in Boston, a marquee match-up, then hopefully a title shot or a number one contender’s spot,” Font said.

“Whoever is in the Top 10, we’re all at least two fights away, so you never know how it plays out. If that doesn’t play out, I’d like to avenge another loss to Pedro Munhoz or (Raphael) Assuncao. I’m ready for it all, but I’m also not overlooking anyone, and not looking down on Lineker at all.”