Since a 2013 decision victory over Koetsu Okazaki, Bibiano Fernandes has held all or part of the ONE bantamweight championship.
This Saturday, he defends that title against two-division ONE champion Martin Nguyen in the main event of ONE: Iron Will from the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
Fernandes (21-3) has defended his belt six times, including finishes of Andrew Leone, Kevin Belingon, Toni Tauru and Dae Hwan Kim. He is unbeaten since a 2010 loss to Hiroyuki Takaya for the DREAM featherweight title.
“I’m not just competing for the belt anymore, to me, it’s all about challenges now. I want to challenge myself and see how far my skills have progressed,” he said. “Martin Nguyen is a great challenge for me, one of the biggest of my career. Everyone is talking about his power and how he’s going to know me out. I would like to see if he can. When he won the featherweight and lightweight world titles, it’s was definitely impressive. But this is my division. He’s coming into my territory and I will defend it. This challenge really motivates me to be at my best.
“I am thankful for the opportunities ONE Championship has given me to see the world, travel all across Asia and now to perform in Thailand, it’s my honor. This is going to be one of the biggest events in the history of martial arts in Asia, and I plan to be on the winning end of it. I will do everything I can to keep the belt and give the best performance of my life.”
As far as his opponent, Fernandes knows that Nguyen is a worthy challenger as evident by his multiple title-winning performances inside the ONE cage.
“I know he has a powerful right hand and a good left hook, so I’m excited to experience them. I’ve studied him and I understand his movements,” Fernandes said. “I’ve seen it all before in my career. Everyone says he is going to knock me out, but we’ll see. I have been training very hard each day. I don’t go out, I don’t party. I’m a family man. I get up in the morning, train, rest, spend some time with my family, and then train some more. This is my life. I have complete focus on preparing for this bout.”