Bibiano Fernandes Close to New Deal With ONE, Questions Time Left in MMA

Bibiano Fernandes Close to New Deal With ONE, Questions Time Left in MMA
Photo: ONE FC
After the UFC bought most other major MMA leagues in recent years such as Pride, Strikeforce and the WEC, fighters who are said to be great always have to face doubters who are saying that their true degree of greatness is impossible to judge as long as they're not competing in the UFC. One of those greats outside of the octagon is Bibiano Fernandes.

At 36 years of age and, as of now, as a free agent, the bantamweight veteran seems to have made his decision to stay with ONE FC where he is the 135-pound champion. With a verbal agreement in place, a contract renewal with the Asian organization only seems like a matter of time.

"We are almost done, they made me a very good offer", Fernandes told FloCombat via AG. Fight. "It was a very good offer, and I want to make a career there after I stop fighting, and that's the way it came about. I want to open doors for Brazilians to fight in Asia [...]. I have to focus on my family."

Sporting a professional record of 20 wins with only three losses, Fernandes was approached by various MMA leagues the whole time while he was negotiating with ONE FC. 

Besides the financial part, though - "I would not go to another league to earn less" - the recognition of the show that he is fighting for as well as the recognition that he'll get from fans played a factor in Fernandes' decision.

"I've always been valued more in Asia", Fernandes said. "I don't know why, the Asians are more traditional, and I'm a professional - they like that, every time I negotiated with the UFC, they doubled (the offer)."

During the last phase of negotiations, it was actually Bellator who competed with ONE FC for Fernandes. And the UFC's biggest rival on American soil was closer to getting a deal done than the market leader.

"The UFC got in touch with me twice (but) they did not try (to sign me)", Fernandes stated. "Bellator, that Russian event, M-1, and even Rizin in Japan. They tried but at the end of the day it's all business. I would love to fight for Bellator, for example, but I have to take a look and let all sides of my career play into my decision."

With the verbal agreement sealed, the signing of the actual contract remains the last obstacle before Fernandes can get back to work. Until the signing takes effect, Fernandes will continue to be a free agent, a state that he doesn't neccessarily want to experience again in his career. After all, at age 36 and with an already cemented legacy as one of the best bantamweights of his era, the fighter seems to be close to hanging up his gloves.

"In a few days the contract will be in my hand and then I can read it calmly. But I think I'll sign it, yes. After fighting, I'll still be with them [...]. It will be a three-fight contract a year for three years. I'll be honest, I don't know how if I'll still fight for long time [...] but over the next two years I'll take about six fights."

By FloCombat via AG.Fight
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