John Lineker believes the vacant bantamweight title is good for the division

John Lineker
Image: MMA Junkie

As news generally does, especially in the MMA world, it can come with some serious shock value. This week was no different.

On Wednesday, UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw revealed that he had been flagged by USADA for a violation regarding one of his drug tests prior to his last fight. That last fight having come in January when he suffered defeat to the flyweight champion, Henry Cejudo.

In turn, Dillashaw would relinquish his title thus leaving the division without a champion.

As several fighters have already voiced their thoughts on the matter, it’s the ones within the division that are found the most interested.

A former opponent of Dillashaw’s, John Lineker happens to be looking at it all as a positive rather than a negative.

“The UFC bantamweight class can now stop being stuck,” Lineker told The Body Lock‘s Michael Fiedel at an American Top Team (ATT) media day. “Now it’s time, there’s gonna be more movement, [the division] has a lot of contenders behind TJ Dillashaw but he lost the belt. Now UFC bantamweight can walk on forward.”

The man known as ‘Hands of Stone’ currently rides a two-fight winning streak having beaten the likes of Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera and Brian Kelleher. His lone loss in his last nine fights came to Dillashaw at UFC 200 in July 2016.

Despite his confidence in himself, the Brazilian knows that there are a few others who are probably in line ahead of him for the crack at the vacant crown.

“I believe that Pedro Munhoz and Marlon Moraes have one step [ahead of] me,” Lineker shared. “I believe they’re gonna be the next [fight] for the belt but I believe I have one more fight and [will] give one more show for everybody, I’ll be next to challenge for the belt.”

As a teammate of Pedro Munhoz’ at ATT, Lineker also said that he thinks the brawling submission wizard can become the next champion and if he does so, the only time he would be willing to fight Munhoz would be for the title.

However, Lineker will first have to get through Cory Sandhagen who he’ll face at UFC Sunrise on April 27.

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/22/2019