Stephen “The Sniper” Loman believes that his 2022 is a precursor to the year ahead.
The third-ranked bantamweight mixed martial artist plans to use everything he learned while competing in the ONE Championship Circle last year, especially since he could be next in line for a shot at the ONE Bantamweight World Title.
The belt will be disputed by former king John Lineker and #1-ranked Fabricio Andrade at ONE Fight Night 7 on February 25 at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, and Loman will be watching with an attentive eye.
Last year, “The Sniper” scored impressive wins over Japanese veteran Shoko Sato before beating former ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes. While he impressed in both of those fights, he knows that the road ahead is only going to get tougher.
“What I learned from that year is that there are no pushovers here in ONE. I learned that [in] every fight, I have to step up. But it’s also good because I proved that even though they are veterans [who] have plenty of experience in the Circle, I can still beat them,” he said.
“I also learned the value of perseverance. [I] just [have to] keep on working on my skills and sharpening everything.”
Knowing that he’s probably got next, whether that’s Lineker or Andrade, Loman is now working on the physical aspects of his game.
“I have to build on my stamina and work on my explosiveness. Championship matches are tough because it’s five rounds, so I have to prepare,” he said.
“I’ve experienced it while competing in a different promotion, so now I just have to work on my stamina again to prepare myself for fights like this.”
He’s not foreign to five-round grinds. He came into ONE as the hottest Filipino commodity after being the longest-reigning champion in the Middle East, where he held the bantamweight championship for more than two years.
But he knows that ONE is a different ball game altogether, and he can’t hold on to past glories with the higher level of competition here in The Home of Martial Arts.
“When I was with Brave, I was really working double-time during World Title fights. It’s a mentality that I’ve had since then, that hunger to win the championship and make sure I last during those fights,” he said.
“Now it’s all about adding extra rounds during training. It’s all about hard work, training, and focus.”