5 Fast Facts About Two-Divison ONE World Champion Anatoly Malykhin
Anatoly Malykhin has been a breakout sensation in ONE Championship since making his debut in 2021.
The reigning ONE Light Heavyweight and Interim Heavyweight World Champion from Kemerovo, Russia, has demolished every opponent en route to acquiring gold in two divisions – and he’s been just as entertaining outside of the Circle.
Here are five fast facts about Malykhin that help explain why he’s become such a successful and beloved athlete in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
#1 He Went From Ballroom Dancing To Wrestling
Growing up in southwestern Siberia, Malykhin began to learn his footwork via the unexpected route of ballroom dancing.
However, his grandfather recognized the youngster’s strength and energy, and as a result, enrolled him in freestyle wrestling.
Malykhin quickly showed an aptitude for the sport, competing extensively on the wrestling mats, medaling at highly competitive national events, and eventually earning the coveted Master of Sport honor.
#2 He Was Inspired By Fedor Emelianenko
Malykhin was already committed to combat sports, but when he watched Russian icon Fedor Emelianenko compete, he knew that he wanted to follow him into mixed martial arts.
“When I first saw the fights of the legendary Fedor Emelianenko, I realized that I would follow his path,” the 34-year-old recalled.
Emelianenko was known as a small but well-rounded heavyweight with KO power, great takedowns, and a crushing top game, so it’s no coincidence that “Sladkiy” has molded himself into an equally adept fighter in all ranges.
#3 He’s An Unbeaten Finisher
Malykhin’s move into MMA was clearly a smart one.
Following a successful amateur career, “Sladkiy” went on a rampage through the pro ranks and earned himself a spot on the ONE roster with a perfect 8-0 slate.
Since stepping onto the global stage, Malykhin has added four more dominant victories to his resume, extending his record to 12-0 with two World Titles belts to his credit.
Even more impressively, the Russian slugger has finished every one of his opponents inside the distance, notching eight knockouts and four submissions, with 10 of them coming in the first round.
#4 He’s A Family Man
When he’s not clubbing his foes inside the Circle, Malykhin is a committed family man who loves nothing more than spending his time with his wife, Anita, and their young son, Lev.
As well as being his partner in crime on social media, Anita is also Anatoly’s manager and looks after the business side of his fighting career.
However, one of her stipulations for taking that role was that the hulking Russian athlete had to use her pet name as his official nickname. That’s why Malykhin changed his moniker from “Spartak” to “Sladkiy” – meaning “sweetie” – at the start of his ONE career.
#5 He’s Generous With His Historic Bonus Winnings
Malykhin has set records in the Circle with his ability to win performance bonuses from ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.
“Sladkiy” has twice taken home a double-bonus of US$100,000 – first when he knocked out Kirill Grishenko for the ONE Interim Heavyweight World Title and then when he finished Reinier de Ridder for the ONE Light Heavyweight World Title.
Still, the 34-year-old hasn’t just spent the money on himself.
Alongside Tiger Muay Thai teammate Petr Yan, Malykhin bought his boxing coach, John Hutchinson, a brand-new 2022 Ford Ranger truck to thank him for his help on the road to success.