Fabricio Andrade (8-2) missed his chance to claim the ONE bantamweight world title in disappointing fashion, but he only sees it as a momentary delay in his quest for the gold.
Although John Lineker (35-9) relinquished the belt after failing to make the weight for their main event tussle at ONE on Prime Video 3 on this past Friday, "Wonder Boy" was eligible to take the vacant crown – and he seemingly came within seconds of doing it.
However, after Andrade hurt "Hands of Stone" with a knee to the body in round three of their matchup in Kuala Lumpur, he missed the mark with his follow-up attempt, and the resulting low blow forced a no-contest ruling.
Looking back at the unfortunate ending, Andrade said:
"The fight didn't end as I expected. I was feeling very comfortable, very confident in the fight, and I made a mistake and hit him with a low blow.
"Honestly, I don't think it was enough to make him stop the fight but he knew I'd just (hurt) him with a body knee. He took the easy way out."
After hurting his rival several times over the course of the contest, "Wonder Boy" believed a clean finish was just moments away.
Now, he doesn't think Lineker will be hungry to run it back.
Andrade had already accused his fellow Brazilian of trying to avoid this meeting, and he thinks that mindset will only be exacerbated now that "Hands of Stone" has felt his power inside the ONE circle.
The 25-year-old said:
"The guy has been running from me for a long time. He comes in here, doesn't make weight, and now he gave up on the fight like that. It's frustrating for me.
"I don't believe he wants to face me again. If he wants a rematch, he can rematch me anytime."
Andrade ready to battle any contender for world title
Andrade would love to meet Lineker again to settle the score, but his main objective is to fight for the ONE bantamweight world title again as soon as possible.
"Wonder Boy" feels healthy and ready to go for another shot at the gold, and he'll take on any top contender if "Hands of Stone" isn't prepared – or willing – for a quick turnaround.
"You can see I'm fresh, I took no damage from this fight, but I want to be active. I want to fight as soon as possible. And I don't think this guy wants a rematch with me, so maybe let's put another guy in for the title, because he couldn't even make weight so now the title is vacated.
"If he doesn't want to fight – and I believe he doesn't want to anymore, especially after I picked him apart like that – give me another guy.
"I just want to get my title. Everybody knows that I am the champion. I proved in this fight that me and Lineker are not on the same level."
This story first published at ONEFC.com.