If Ian McCall really wants to fight him, John Lineker said he’s game. However, he suggested they may need to agree to some rules ahead of time.
Following Saturday’s unanimous-decision win over fellow flyweight Brad Pickett (24-9 MMA, 4-4 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 46, McCall (13-4-1 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC) was asked about a potential bout against Lineker (24-7 MMA, 5-2 UFC), who scored a TKO victory over Alptekin Ozkilic (9-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) earlier in the week at UFC Fight Night 46.
With UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (20-2-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC) now scheduled to co-headline UFC 177 opposite Chris Cariaso (17-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC) – and other contenders such as John Dodson (injury) and Ali Bagautinov (drug suspension) sidelined – the rest of the division is queuing up for the next crack at the title.
For McCall, who’s ranked No. 4 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings, a fight with No. 9 Lineker, who’s likely to move up a spot or two when the rankings are updated later this week, would be hard to pass up, he said.
“Sign me up,” he said after Saturday’s UFC Fight Pass-streamed event at The O2 in Dublin. “I’ll fight anybody. He’s top five or whatever, and just like tonight, he might hit hard, but he can’t touch me. So, we’ll see how that goes. … He’s got pretty big holes in his wrestling and jiu-jitsu, so that’s a fight I’d love to take.”
When Lineker heard of McCall’s comments, he reached out to us. He narrowed in specifically on McCall’s reference to his elusiveness in the Pickett fight.
As Lineker sees it, it’s nothing to brag about.
“Congratulations to Ian on his win over Brad Pickett,” he told MMAjunkie. “But I’m not sure if I was watching a fight or a game of touch with the way Ian was running around away from Pickett.
“I have no problem at all with fighting McCall if that’s what the UFC wants to happen. But I would ask my manager to suggest the UFC create a new rule, deducting a point for every so many yards run inside the ring. I want to fight, not play hide-and-seek.”
Since losses to two of the division’s two fighters, champ Johnson and former title challenger Joseph Benavidez, McCall has picked up win over Pickett and Iliarde Santos for his first back-to-back wins since he was a Tachi Palace Fights titleholder.
Lineker, meanwhile, got his past weight-cutting issues in order (for one fight, at least), and he’s now 5-1 (with four knockouts) over his past six fights. The lone defeat came via decision to Bagautinov.
As for UFC President Dana White, he offered his usual post-fight-matchmaking response when asked about the possible bout.
“We’ll see,” he offered.