Bibiano Fernandes Is Training His Mind While Waiting For The Next Match
ONE bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes, hasn’t competed since last October, when he beat his long term rival Kevin Belingon at ONE: Century. As the coronavirus pandemic persists, it’s uncertain when he’ll defend his title next.
Speaking to BJPenn.com‘s Tom Taylor earlier this week, Fernandes opened up about his current mindset and day-to-day life during the outbreak.
“I’m training, but the more important thing right now is not training my body but training my mind. I’m training my body, making sure my heart is pumping, I’m lifting lots of weights, but the more important thing is training the mind.
“You have to decide which direction you want to go. You have to make a decision for yourself, your family and your friends, that’s it,” the Brazilian said. “You can go [toward] fear, being scared, doubting yourself — no. I have to hold myself back and say ‘everybody close to me is good, everybody is safe’, now we have to move [through this] together. We have to believe. We have to have faith, not fear.”
Fernandes also reflected on a recent situation he had with his son in a grocery store.
“The other day I was in the store, and my son came with me,” Fernandes recounted. “He said ‘Daddy get tissue, get more of this.’ I said ‘no, son, listen to me. We don’t take everything, son. Do you know why? Because there are still people who need food, medicine. Old people, mothers with kids. We will take what we need and help the community.’”
Having not competed in six months, since his second-round rear-naked choke win over Belingon, Fernandes seems very eager to come back.
“I’m excited. Let’s see what happens, but I’m excited to go back and do what I love to do,” he said. “I’m excited to give a good show for ONE Championship fans, for Chatri [Sityodtong] and Victor Cui, and for my fans. I want to make these guys happy.”
Prior to the current global situation, Fernandes was offered a match on June 5 at ONE: Battle for the Ages in Jakarta, Indonesia. A possible opponent could’ve been the Japanese contender Shoko Sato. But now he isn’t sure who his next challenger may be.
“They’ve talked with me a little bit before this happened. They wanted me to fight on June 5th. I’m very excited for that to happen,” he said. “You never know what will happen tomorrow, but this is the time for me training my mind right now, and making sure my body is healthy when I step back in for my camp. But for now we have to wait a little bit and see what happens.”
His next bout might be held without an audience, like we saw with ONE: King Of The Jungle. But Fernandes doesn’t mind competing in an empty arena, he even thinks that it helps the judges to be more objective.
“I’m okay fighting for television. If there are people there, great, but the last time I fought with Kevin, the people there, they wanted Kevin to win. The people affect the judges. The judges are not strong enough to handle the pressure of the crowd,” he said. “The judges aren’t strong enough — I’m not joking — to focus on the fight. What happened in the fight with Kevin, so many people were going crazy. This affected the judges.
“So if I don’t fight with a crowd, it doesn’t bother me. I want to fight for the people at home, too,” he added. “That’s what I care about.”
He is clearly eager to compete, but for now, Bibiano Fernandes is concentrating on his family and community, as well as evolving as a person during these hard times.
“We have to evolve. Sometimes I feel like life is a test to see what kind of heart you have, what kind of mentality you have.”