UFC bantamweight prospect Rob Font (12-1, 2-0 UFC) would rise up the rankings at a deliberate rate if it were left up to him, but has no issues testing himself against more top competition like Brazil’s Jon Lineker if that’s what the promotion has in mind for him.
While speaking with MMA Mad’s Nick Rizner for Wednesday’s episode of the MMA Mad Podcast, Font explained that while he would prefer to take it a little slower, he still sees himself as capable of handling Top 10 fights, including his scheduled bout with Jon Lineker this May at UFC 198.
“I know for a fact that I’m capable of beating Top 10 guys. I do definitely want that gradual rise. I don’t want to jump right into it automatically, but I feel like this fight kind of forces me into that conversation, but you know me, I’m a real fighter. I’m going to take whoever they throw in front of me, but I’m ready for anybody in the Top 10.”
The Boston native expects good things from his opponent when they step into the cage and was quick to compliment Lineker’s ability and penchant to take part in entertaining bouts.
“Lineker is in exciting fights. He’s always brought it. He could’ve got a title shot at 125 if he could’ve made weight, but then he came up. I think he’s pretty exciting. I’ve watched him a couple of times, so I know exactly what I’m getting myself into,” said Font before continuing to break down his opponent. “He’s a hard hitter, but I feel like I’ve put work in on my head movement. I’m just not going to be there for him to hit me. But I know he brings a fight. He’s going to bring an exciting fight. It’s not going to be one of those potential boring fights, because it’s not in his DNA to be that boring fighter.”
Font knows that he will be fighting a world class opponent, but is confident in his ability to negate any advantages the Brazilian brings to the cage and counter with his own strengths.
“I’ve got to be real smart with the range. Control the range the whole time, control the tempo and the chaos the whole time. If I can do that, I feel like he won’t land something big. He brings the fight, so I know he’s going to come forward. I feel my best attribute about me is that I fight well backing up, and once I ding you, I fight even better going forward. I gotta be patient, I can’t rush it. I feel like I’ll land something big, and then I just got to go forward and finish the fight.”
When asked about Lineker’s habit of trying to draw fighters into a brawl where he can end the bout with his devastating power, Font didn’t hesitate to lay out his plan to avoid that trap. He believes staying smart is the key.
“Yeah, you know I feel like you get into a crazy fight like that if you’re down two rounds and you need a knockout. That’s the only time to get into a fight like that. I don’t think my body will let me get into a fight like that. My coaches will definitely kill me if I get into a fight like that. I think I’m a smarter fighter in there than a lot of guys, and I definitely won’t, I don’t see myself slugging it out like that with him.”
Another key factor of this match-up will be its location and venue. Font will have to make the trip to Curitiba, Brazil, a country famous for rabidly supporting their own countrymen when the UFC finds itself promoting events within its borders. Font has no illusions of what it will be like entering hostile territory, but believes he will change the hometown fans’ mind about him by the time the battle has concluded.
“I don’t mind being a villain for this one. I know it’s a huge fight. I’m excited to fight in a huge stadium like that. It’s a huge soccer stadium, so that’s going to be awesome to get out there and feel that energy. Feel the crowd booing and all that chanting. I do believe that they really love fighters and I think they’re going to quickly change their minds about me. I feel like I’m going to make a lot of Brazilian fans.”
Despite the quick rise in competition and being forced to fight in an environment that favors his opponent, The Team Sityodtong representative is very aware of the opportunity laid in front of him and plans on taking full advantage of the potential it brings to benefit his career and visibility to fans.
“Yeah, I’m thinking there’s going to be a lot of eyes on this fight card. The stadium holds 40,000 people. I believe they will sell it out. it’s a huge card. I think it’s going to be my coming out party, so to say,” said Font before adding “I believe I am underrated. I’m cool with that. I feel like I haven’t really got to showcase my skills. Not necessarily showcase my skills, but get in there with a real tough opponent like Jon Lineker, so I think this is a great opportunity for me to show that I’m here to stay and that I can compete with the best of them.”
During his time on the show, Font also discussed what it was like to compete in front of the Boston crowd in his last fight and how he believes that many fighters attempt to make their way into the UFC before they’re truly prepared for the jump.
The full interview can be listened to below and begins at the 1 minute 37 seconds mark:
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