Fabricio Andrade is driven by challenges.
Andrade, also known as “Wonderboy,” captured the ONE Championship bantamweight title by beating John Lineker in impressive fashion in February. Now, he returns to action Friday night to pursue another belt, challenging ONE Muay Thai champion Jonathan Haggerty for the vacant ONE bantamweight kickboxing title in Bangkok.
Andrade said on MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast that he was originally approached with the idea of facing Petchtanong Petchfergus for his belt, however the kickboxing champion was suspended and stripped of the title after testing positive for anabolic steroids metenolone and noldenone.
“When they offered me the opportunity to fight [Petchtanong], I had to think about it because I’m more active in MMA,” Andrade said. “But the opportunity to become a two-sport champion, the first one to cross over from MMA to striking, interested me. Petchtanong ended up failing an anti-doping test, and they switched the opponent.”
Andrade most recently competed in kickboxing in 2019. While his MMA record sits at 9-2 with one no-contest, Andrade said his kickboxing record stands at 29-1.
“On paper, most people will say [Haggerty] has the advantage because there are less differences going from Muay Thai to kickboxing then to come from MMA,” Andrade said. “But I think the fact that I’ve fought kickboxing for so long, it’s actually easier for me to remember how I fought.
“It’s an advantage for me. He loses many weapons when he changes styles, because the things he’s more dangerous at, like elbows and clinch and catching the leg, he can’t do that. Even though I have to train wrestling and jiu-jitsu for all my MMA fights, I always focus more on the striking.
“The biggest difference this time is that I had to adapt to shorter rounds, three minutes instead of five, and bigger gloves. I liked it. It was a very long training camp, and I had plenty of time to adapt. I’m feeling very comfortable. I’m remembering those days where I fought kickboxing. I don’t have to worry about defending takedowns.”
Andrade said the challenge — and a chance to make history as a two-sport champion at ONE — are the sole factors that convinced him to embark on this mission.
“The kickboxing purse is lower than the MMA purse,” he said. “I’m doing this more for the challenge itself, because it’s something no one has ever done, more than the financial side of it.”
Andrade said his plan is to return to MMA after Friday’s kickboxing challenge, and he’s open to pursuing more belts in the future.
“There are many possibilities in my weight class,” he said. “I can fight kickboxing, Muay Thai, and MMA, so that’s three champions already. And even boxing, something that has always interested me. I can also move up a division in the future to challenge myself as well. It would be complicated for me to go down in weight, but to move up, that’s definitely a possibility.”
Andrade believes Lineker will always be around as viable contender for his MMA title, especially now that “Hands of Stone” rebounded from defeat with wins over Jae Woong Kim and Stephen Loman. He sees his fellow Brazilian as the Max Holloway to his Alexander Volkanovski, though, meaning it might just be too early for the trilogy.
“Lineker is a possibility, he beat the guy that was the next contender,” Andrade said. “But I think the fact that I just beat him twice [editor’s note: the first bout was a no-contest] would make it more interesting if I fought a new challenger.
“We might do the trilogy next year. For now, I think it’s more likely that I fight [Won Il Kwon]. I already defeated him, but he won his last fight. Lineker is very tough, and he’ll always be around, but it’s not interesting to do this trilogy right now.”