When ONE Championship announced that Team Lakay stalwart Stephen “The Sniper” Loman was joining the Home of Martial Arts in February, the former BRAVE CF World Bantamweight Champion said the decision was founded on the promise of facing the toughest challenges possible.
At ONE on TNT IV, Loman gets his wish.
Loman will face no. 1-ranked bantamweight mixed martial arts contender, former UFC veteran John “Hands of Stone” Lineker of Brazil in a three-round bout on April 29 (Manila time).
“ONE Championship put me up against John Lineker immediately, and I can actually say, I was a bit surprised. But at the same time, I’m very happy. It’s a chance for me to fight the best, which is what I wanted. He is one of the best fighters in the division and a very tough opponent for me,” said Loman, who held the BRAVE belt for 1,180 days before signing with the Singapore-based promotion.
“I’m taking on a very dangerous man who is maybe the top-ranked fighter in the division now, next to the bantamweight king, Bibiano [Fernandes]. It’s not an easy fight, by any means. Lineker has a lot of power.”
Lineker earned the pole position in the rankings after defeating Loman’s Team Lakay teammate, former ONE Bantamweight World Champion Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon last October. He stopped Belingon inside of two rounds.
If Loman can defeat Lineker, and in impressive fashion, it may be enough to steer him towards a shot at reigning bantamweight king, Bibiano Fernandes. However, Loman is in no rush; instead, he wants to prove himself in the Circle by facing whoever the promotion puts in front of him.
“Right now, I’m not trying to go out there and say I’m the best in the division. I’m the new guy, a champion coming from a different organization, so I have a lot to prove. I don’t know where I rank currently, but we’ll see soon enough,” said Loman.
Prior to joining ONE Championship, Loman strutted his wares in Philippine-based promotion URCC and regional league PXC. He then became the longest-running BRAVE CF champion in history, after dominating the competition in the Middle East. He is coming into his ONE debut riding an eight-fight winning streak.
Loman explains that, despite his success, he dwelled on the decision to join ONE because he wanted to face the best talents the world has to offer.
“Obviously, the decision to join ONE Championship was one I thought about for a long time. It’s the largest martial arts organization in the world. I’m a fighter, and I’m seeking the toughest challenges. I want to test myself against the best. ONE Championship has the best fighters,” said Loman.
“All my teammates told me great things about ONE Championship. They say competing in this organization is good. The promotion takes very good care of its fighters, and is very generous, especially for good performances.”