The former ONE bantamweight world champion has had a rough go as of late, falling to some of the division’s elite. He failed in his attempt to steal his title back from Bibiano Fernandes, and was then ousted by John Lineker in a title eliminator. The losses, however, have not deterred the Filipino athlete as he prepares for his next challenge.
“My confidence is unshaken,” Belingon told ONE Championship. “I feel even after that loss, the confidence in myself remains strong. I felt like I wasn’t the one who was fighting Lineker. I felt like I lost focus on that match.
“I’ll treat that as a lesson. After that fight, I rested up for a bit, then went to the gym to work. I’ve been waiting for this match for a long time, and we’re finally here.”
That match he has been waiting for will not be an easy outing. Pretty Boy is looking for his own path toward the gold, and he believes strongly that he deserves a shot. The stylistic matchup is guaranteed to be exciting, and the Filipino is expecting to ignite the fuse.
“I want to win, and I want to finish him, whether it be KO, TKO, or submission,” the Team Lakay product said. “I expect a good fight. I expect fireworks.
“I think I have more weapons than him. I don’t want to belittle Kwon Won Il, because he has good hands, great boxing. But I think I have a lot more in my arsenal. I believe my striking is better, but I have to take note of his punches. We have a game plan prepared for him.”
Along with focusing on trying to make a true statement of intent against his up-and-coming opponent, The Silencer feels the pressure of protecting his spot in the rankings as the number-two ranked bantamweight contender.
“The goal has always been to stay close to a world title shot, so I have to defend my territory and keep my place atop of the rankings,” Belingon said. “My eyes have always been on a world title shot. And if I lose here, I know I will be farther and farther from that. That’s why this is important. I want another run at the world title, I have to defend my position, and I have a reputation to keep.”
And Belingon’s determination to regain the title he once held has not wavered for a minute. However, if the Filipino scores a victory on Dec. 17, and earns his shot at the strap, his opponent is somewhat undetermined.
The ONE bantamweight title will be up for grabs when Bibiano Fernandes takes on John Lineker early next year. And, Belingon was quite vocal when voicing his view on the upcoming showdown.
“This is such a great match,” said the 34-year-old. “Lineker is a great striker with excellent takedown defense, while Bibiano is a very good grappler.
“I know they’re both good, and anything can happen. Let’s just wait and see. I really can’t give a definite answer to who’s going to win. It’s really 50-50 for me. It’s Lineker’s knockout power versus Bibiano’s brilliance on the ground. Lineker can knockout Bibiano, and Bibiano can submit Lineker. I can’t really predict who will win.”
Before he can think about taking on either of the Brazilian athletes, though, Kwon Won Il stands ready to meet him in the Circle. And Belingon is prepared to show the world he is the better man and capable of wearing the coveted title one more time.
“I want to prove that I’m a better striker than Kwon Won Il,” said Belingon. “I want to show the people that Kevin Belingon is far from done, and I still have one more run in me at the world title.”
Belingon’s chance will come at ONE Championship: Winter Warriors II, airing on Bleacher Report’s YouTube channel on Friday, Dec. 17 at 7:30 a.m. ET.
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