Top ranked bantamweight Bibiano Fernandes had a very interesting year in 2012, but much of the action surrounding him had nothing to do with his performance in the cage.
The DREAM champion was rumored to sign with the UFC earlier last year before an offer came in from Asian promotion ONE FC at the eleventh hour that stole him away for a longterm deal.
Some fans were left scratching their heads at the decision because Fernandes is ranked as a top ten bantamweight, and most fighter recognize the bulk of the talent in that division is currently competing in the UFC Octagon.
Fernandes, however, was looking at his family's financial future, and the offer made by ONE FC was too good to pass up. He ultimately opted to sign with them. Now one fight in with the promotion, as well as a strong year-end performance at DREAM.18 to close out 2012, does Fernandes have any regrets with his decision?
“Of course I'm happy with my choice,” Fernandes told MMAWeekly.com. “My last fight was already aired live all over North America so (the fans) can still follow me. Right now my focus is with ONE FC; what the future holds only God knows.
“When one door closes another one opens.”
Fernandes traveled back to Japan, a country where he's spent a big part of his fighting career, to close out the year. He picked up a dominant win over former WEC contender Yoshiro Maeda, and now turns his attention towards 2013 and his next fight with ONE FC.
While he does reveal that there is a fight already lined up, Fernandes stopped short of revealing the details, but ONE FC does have a card in early February with more cards being added as the year moves on. No matter the plans, Fernandes is happy with his new home, and is looking forward to a good year with them.
“I've only had one fight so far, but it was a good experience. It's a good organization and I believe it will keep growing. I'm happy to be a part of ONE FC. I already have my next fight scheduled, but I will let them make the announcement,” said Fernandes.
“As far as being busy goes, I'll have to ask Victor (Cui, CEO of ONE FC) about that one.”
The biggest criticism of Fernandes' signing with ONE FC wasn't his decision to opt for more money because every fighter wants to make a living and provide for their family, but with talent spread thin at 135 pounds and the majority of the top fighters currently competing in the UFC's bantamweight division, the real question was who would Fernandes fight there?
He's not concerned with that question, however, because he believes ONE FC will find fights for him, and Fernandes is happy to face any challenger they can bring in.
“There are definitely good guys for me over there, especially for my weight,” Fernandes commented.
“People in Asia tend to be smaller. Just because people may not be familiar with the names over here doesn't mean there is not any talent there.”
MMAWeekly.com will have more information on Fernandes next fight when the information becomes available.