After Choosing ONE FC Over UFC, Bibiano Fernandes Says It’s Time To “Move Forward”
By Kelsey Mowatt
It’s safe to say that 2012 hasn’t exactly unfolded in the way Bibiano Fernandes probably thought it would, after he completed his 2011 campaign on New Year’s Eve, by winning DREAM’s bantamweight title. Although at the time, there was no shortage of speculation as to what the future held for the struggling promotion, few would have predicted what lay ahead for its bantamweight champ.
Not long ago, it was widely reported that the Ultimate Fighting Championship had further bolstered its bantamweight roster, by signing the 32 year-old Fernandes. Not only that, it was also announced that DREAM’s former featherweight champion would fight Roland Delorme at UFC 149 on July 21st. When the bout was removed from the UFC site, initially IT was reported by several outlets that Fernandes was injured, in keeping with the rash of injuries that has hit the promotion recently.
After it was revealed, by Fernandes himself, that neither was he injured nor had he signed a contract with the UFC, the decorated grappler confirmed that ONE FC was interested in his services. On Tuesday, Fernandes informed Full Contact Fighter that he had finally signed with the growing Asian promotion, and that he’ll make his debut on August 31st.
“It’s for a lot of fights,” Fernandes said while discussing the deal, which was also subsequently announced by ONE FC. “I think I could finish my career there.”
Although Fernandes was quick to credit the UFC when he spoke with Full Contact Fighter earlier in the month, he also relayed that he believed the ONE FC offering was a “better deal.” The fighter’s decision to not sign with the world’s biggest promotion was quickly questioned by some.
“You know why? I have a family; I have kids and life is about that,” said Fernandes. “I made my choice and now I have to keep moving; keep going forward.
“It’s good for me because I love to fight,” Fernandes added. “Now it doesn’t matter whether I went there and go here. Now I move forward and I’m going to fight. We’ll see what happens…I love to do it, but I have to take care of my family and take care of my kids.”
Although Fernandes does not have an opponent lined up yet for August 31st, he relayed that he is excited to be heading to Manila for his ONE FC debut.
“It’s going to be in the Philippines,” said Fernandes. “So yeah; I’m very happy.”
When Full Contact Fighter spoke with Fernandes earlier in the month, he did not comment on the future of DREAM, other than to thank the Japanese promotion and wish it well.
Of course, it was no surprise that Fernandes received several offers once he hit the free agent market, considering the Brazilian’s 8-1 run with DREAM. In addition to winning two titles, Fernandes scored wins over noted fighters like Joe Warren, Masakazu Imanari, Joachim Hansen and Hiroyuki Takaya.
“Now there is new challenges in my life,” said Fernandes (11-3), whose last defeat took place on NYE, 2010, when he lost by unanimous decision to Takaya in their rematch. “Challenges are good.”
“I’m a very good employee,” Fernandes added, while discussing ONE FC, which recently announced a new sponsorship deal with Chevrolet and a reported 18 event schedule for 2013. “When I work for you I will work very hard. I believe this can go very well.”