From the slums of Brazil and the isolated jungles of the Amazon to the bright lights of Manila
As ONE FC star and top Bantamweight Bibiano Fernandes gears up for his May 31st bout, he recalls his arduous journey to finally get to where he is today.
Fernandes grew up in the slums of Manaus, Brazil. Left to fend for himself after the passing of his mother, a young Fernandes scavenged for food in the Northern Brazilian city, living on leftovers and begging for food. He even spent several years living off the land in the Amazon Jungle. Fernandes revealed that he does not think about those young times, although when pressed, he added that his childhood probably developed his never-say-die attitude.
He returned to Manaus after a few years. Without a home and with nobody to turn to, a teenage Bibiano began cleaning houses and wash cars in exchange for food. There was a Jiu-Jitsu school in the neighborhood and he was mesmerized by what he saw. One of the students at the school became his friend and volunteered to pay a month’s fee for him to train. “He asked me if I wanted to train and I immediately said yes.” A month after rolling and tapping out veterans with years of experience, the coach asked him if he will like to compete in an upcoming tournament. Bibiano explained he had no money to pay neither the monthly fees nor the entry fee for the competition. Bibiano explained, “The coach simply said ‘Bibiano you come everyday and clean the gym’” and allowed him to train for free.
That began a whirlwind career for Fernandes which has seen him win gold in both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA multiple times. Now with an impressive record of 13-3, he will look to add to his list of accolades by becoming interim ONE FC Bantamweight World Champion when he takes on Japanese veteran Koetsu Okazaki.
Having fought in Japanese promotions for most of his career, Fernandes is very aware of the skills of his opponent Okazaki. When quizzed about what he makes of his opponent, Bibiano simply replied “A fight is a fight. I respect all my opponents and take each fight seriously. But I don’t have to prepare a special way for any opponent. If I fight my fight, I am confident that I will win.”
About ONE Fighting Championship™
Headquartered in Singapore, ONE Fighting Championship™ (http://www.onefc.com) is Asia's largest mixed martial arts organization. ONE Fighting Championship™ hosts the best Asian mixed martial artists and world champions on the largest media broadcast in Asia. ONE Fighting Championship™ has partnered with STAR Sports, the number one leader in sports content, for an unprecedented 10-year cable television deal with a coverage that spans across 70+ countries in Asia.