UFC bantamweight John Lineker is desperate to book his next fight as soon as possible. He is even willing to move to featherweight to speed up the process.
Lineker (31-8) was supposed to fight Cory Sandhagen at UFC Fight Night last weekend, but he withdrew due to a minor injury. He told ESPN he had no choice when it came to pulling out of that bout, but he’s healthy enough to get something on the UFC’s books now.
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“I’m ready to fight in one month,” Lineker said through a translator. “I don’t pick opponents. It can be anybody. I’ll even put this out there: It can be anyone at 135 pounds or 145 pounds. I just need to fight.
“It doesn’t seem like there are a lot of opponents for me at 135, so maybe if I offer myself up at 145, somebody will show up.”
Lineker, 29, has been limited to just two appearances in the last two years. Originally from Brazil, now living in South Florida, he admits that’s created a difficult financial situation for his family.
“This is my job. I don’t get paid if I don’t work,” Lineker said. “I have five kids to support. If I don’t work, I can’t pay for their lives. That’s why I’m offering myself up at any weight. I need to get paid. I need to work.”
Despite his inactivity, Lineker remains highly ranked at 135 pounds. The bantamweight division is in flux at the moment, however, as champion TJ Dillashaw just lost to flyweight champion Henry Cejudo and is asking for a rematch. Should Dillashaw get one, it would create a logjam in his division.
Lineker isn’t thinking about the title at the moment. He just wants a fight. And with the uncertain situation at the top his division, he’s opening up his options and welcoming a fight against anyone from either weight class.
“What would make sense is bantamweights like Marlon Moraes, Raphael Assuncao, Jimmie Rivera — all those guys,” Lineker’s manager Alex Davis said. “And do we want an opponent who projects him to a title fight? Of course. But look at what’s happening right now. None of those higher-ranked fighters are going to want to fight him because the risk is too big. I’ll tell you, those guys won’t fight Lineker right now.
“John is a kid who really enjoys fighting. He’ll fight anyone. We’ve offered to fight [featherweight prospect] Zabit Magomedsharipov before, and that was a real offer. John can beat anyone.”