CHAMPION’S MINDSET – Team Lakay’s Stephen Loman, who is being hugged by coach Mark Sangiao in this file photo, expects to face a tougher challenge in ONE Championship since vacating his bantamweight belt in BRAVE Combat Federation late last year. (Photo from BRAVE CF)

Team Lakay’s Stephen Loman made a bold statement after jumping ship from BRAVE Combat Federation to ONE Championship.

Loman, the longest reigning champion in BRAVE, has set sights on top fighters in ONE’s bantamweight division since vacating the throne in the Bahrain-based promotion after his contract expired last November.

“As a prize of being a champion, ‘yung expectation ko talaga is that they (ONE) will [let me face] with some tough opponents, ‘yung nasa Top 5 siguro (As a prize of being a champion, my expectation is that ONE will let me face some tough opponents, perhaps those in the Top 5),” Loman told the Manila Bulletin Thursday, Feb. 11.

“And I will prepare for that, whoever they (ONE) like for me to face. Sila Bibiano [Fernandes] po. Ayun ‘yung talagang target pag lumalaban. Yung target, pag may chance na lalaban sa belt, gagawin ko ang lahat (The likes of Bibiano perhaps. That’s the target in every fight. The target is to do my best should they give me title shot soon).”

Though ONE has already welcomed Loman in the promotion, his official fighting weight has yet to be announced but is expected to stay in the bantamweight, joining the likes of Fernandes, the current world champion, No. 1 John Lineker, No. 2 Shoko Sato, No. 3 and teammate Kevin Belingon, No. 4 Yusup Saadulaev, and No. 5 Shuya Kamikubo.

Coach Mark Sangiao helped in weighing in on the best decision for Loman, saying that ONE Championship will open more doors for his prized student.

And Loman echoed the sentiments of his long-time mentor and believed that he has a “very big future” in the Singapore-based promotion.

“Nasabi niya rin na lahat ng mga teammates ko lumalaban sa ONE… Nasabi niya po ‘yung mga fights ‘di ka maghihintay nang matagal (He told me that my teammates are already fighting under ONE… and mentioned that I don’t really have to wait for a long time for future fights). There’s a fight in every period of time. Naisip ko na maganda ang future dito (I thought that I have a bright future ahead with this),” said Loman, who holds a 14-2 record and rides on an 8-0 win streak since 2016.

The man known as “The Sniper” last saw action in November 2019 in BRAVE CF 30, scoring a unanimous decision win against Ilias Sanoudakis of Canada for his fourth title defense and fifth consecutive victory in BRAVE.

Source: Manila Bulletin (