MANILA, Philippines -- Team Lakay's Stephen Loman joined ONE Championship because he wanted to face the toughest challenges possible -- and "The Sniper" will immediately get his wish.
In his ONE Championship debut at "ONE on TNT IV," Loman will take on top-ranked bantamweight and former UFC veteran John "Hands of Stone" Lineker of Brazil in a three-round bout.
The event is the fourth installment of the "ONE on TNT" series and will be broadcast live on Wednesday, April 28 (April 29 in the Philippines."
"ONE Championship put me up against John Lineker immediately, and I can actually say, I was a bit surprised," Loman admitted.
"But at the same time, I'm very happy," he added. "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."
Loman, the former undisputed BRAVE CF bantamweight champion, knows that Lineker is a dangerous opponent with plenty of power. The Brazilian earned his spot in the bantamweight rankings after stopping Loman's Team Lakay teammate, Kevin Belingon, in two rounds in their October 2020 showdown.
If Loman can beat Lineker, it may be enough to steer him towards a shot at defending bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes.
But the Filipino veteran insists that he is in no rush and first wants to prove himself inside the ONE Circle by facing whoever is put in front of him by the promotion.
"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," he said. "I don't know where I rank currently, but we'll see soon enough."
Prior to joining ONE Championship, Loman competed in URCC and PXC, and became the longest-running champion in BRAVE CF history. He has won eight consecutive matches heading into his ONE Championship debut.
Despite his success in other promotions, Loman said he jumped ship to ONE Championship because he wanted to face the best talents in the world.
"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," he said.
"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," he added.
"I love how ONE promotes its fighters, really giving them time and attention on the biggest global stage. I am excited to debut as a ONE athlete."
ONE Championship returns this Friday, March 5 with ONE: Fists of Fury II, and then on March 19 with ONE: Fists of Fury III, both pre-recorded events filmed in Singapore.
It returns to live broadcast on Wednesday, April 7 (April 8 in the Philippines) with "ONE on TNT I."