Kevin Belingon acknowledged he will have his hands full when he returns to action in the ONE bantamweight division.
Although Belingon is ranked as the top contender in his weight class, he will still have to earn his title shot due to losses against reigning champion Bibiano Fernandes.
“I am willing to face whoever, because at the end of the day the goal is to fight for the title again and rule the division once more,” Belingon said.
“So whoever I face next, you can expect me to be at my best.”
Also looking for a chance to challenge Fernandes are second-ranked Shoko Sato, who has won his last 6 matches.
Submission specialist Yusup Saadulaev is not far behind, while a pair of Japanese fighters — Shuya Kamikubo and Daichi Takenaka — round out the top 5 contenders.
But the challengers are not necessarily limited to the ones in the rankings. John Lineker, ONE’s prized signing last year, is an example of that.
Belingon promised he will defend his turf to retain the right to take on Fernandes.
“I think it’s a free for all. All of those in the rankings have one goal in mind — to get that title shot,” he said. “So I always have to be ready to fight for my spot.”
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