Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight John Lineker makes more mixed martial arts (MMA) headlines during weigh-ins than at the actual event.
This was certainly the case last week at UFC 169, when "Hands of Stone" needed an extra hour to hit the required mark of 125 pounds, a near-miss that only added to his dismal statistic of being overweight in three of his five UFC bouts.
Despite the alarming issues, Lineker won't change weight classes moving forward, according to his manager Alex Davis (via MMAFighting.com):
"He’s not a bantamweight, he’s a flyweight, we’ll fix the issues and he will make weight. Imagine Lineker fighting a guy the size of Renan Barao. It makes no sense. The 135-pound guys are way bigger than him. He’s a flyweight, and we have to fix the weight issues."
The 24-year-old has an impressive record (23-7), but suffered defeat at UFC 169 against Ali Bagautinov, his first since losing his Octagon debut to Louis Gaudinot back in May 2012.
Somewhere along the line en-route to his bout with Bagautinov, the young American Top Team-trained member lost the ability to lose weight, resulting in a tumultuous 60 minutes allotted by the New Jersey Athletic Control Board.
"He was doing a great job with Dr. Marco Aranha in Brazil, he went to the U.S. lighter than he did in his previous fights, but he just ‘froze’ during the last cut. We don’t know what happens. He just thinks he won’t make weight and his body stops sweating. We did everything and he cut the last pound. I didn’t want a fight that early to begin with, but the UFC needed the fight so we had to accept it. Now, I’ll make him make weight before his next camp. I’m confident that, when he makes 125 with no fight scheduled, he’ll realize he can make it and won’t panic anymore."
So why doesn't Lineker and his camp just try something new such as a move back to 135 pounds? For his manager, it lies in his ability to one day be crowned Flyweight champion.
"He can make 125, he doesn’t dehydrate to make 126. I’m sure he’ll make weight, and I’m positive this kid will be the champion one day. Demetrious Johnson, Ali Bagautinov, John Dodson… These guys are great fighters, but Lineker is special. He’s very talented, and he’s only 24 years old."
Not many people would argue that assessment, but one must wonder with all the troubles Lineker has had thus far whether his rope with UFC (which has a history of cutting poor weight cutters) is wearing thin.