Top 15 ranked bantamweight John Lineker returns to action at UFC Fight Night Sao Paulo and he kicks off the main card against Marlon Vera.
Lineker states that before Vera signed onto fight him, at least half a dozen fighters ran away from the opportunity to fight him.
“My manager named several athletes I could fight,” Lineker said to Combate. “Some of them turned me down, some didn’t. Many ran away, actually, so I didn’t have much of a choice. I’m thankful Marlon and his team took the fight. All I can do is thank him for taking a fight that others wouldn’t. I won’t name any names, but there was half a dozen of them who declined fighting me in Brazil. I needed a fight as soon as possible. I was cleared in June, so I was inactive for a long time, that’s really bad for an athlete. I need to fight, no matter who it was against. Thank God Marlon accepted it.”
Although Lineker claims a lot of fighters ran away from fighting him, the Brazilian doesn’t name any of those fighters who did so.
The Brazilian believes that the fighters ran away because they would’ve been fighting him in his home country.
“I believe it was hard to find me an opponent because of my ranking position and the fight being in Brazil,” Lineker said. “I believe it was more because of it being in Brazil. The crowd is really relentless. That’s definitely a lot of pressure on them. The crowd goes crazy. Of course it’ll be just me and him in the Octagon, but it can really get to your psychological side. Still, I want them to cheer for me without disrespecting Marlon. We should show that us Brazilians know how to respect and value other athletes.”
UFC Fight Night Sao Paulo takes place on Saturday, October 28 from the Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil with Lyoto Machida and Derek Brunson headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which airs live on Fox Sports 1.