De Ridder Eyeing Showdowns With Fellow Titleholders Abbasov, Bhullar

Nov 18, 2021
Dutch MMA fighter Reinier De Ridder with the ONE Championship belt

Reinier “The Dutch Knight” de Ridder will welcome any challenge to his ONE Middleweight or ONE Light Heavyweight World Titles – but he’s also keen to become a triple champ.

The 31-year-old Netherlands native was last in action at “ONE on TNT IV” in April, where he picked up a second convincing win over Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang, along with his second World Championship.

Now, the laid-back Combat Brothers athlete is ready to take on anyone across three divisions when he returns to the Circle. 

“[I’ll defend] whichever belt, whichever way, [against] whoever. It doesn’t matter,” De Ridder says.

“As soon as possible, I’ll fight anybody in the world. At middleweight, at light heavyweight, or heavyweight.”

But while “The Dutch Knight” is open to facing any competitor that ONE Championship’s matchmakers deem worthy, he does have some personal preferences.

Pictures from the fight between Aung La N Sang and Reinier De Ridder at "ONE on TNT IV"

Kiamrian Abbasov is very interesting. He’s been on a tear lately. It would be very cool to face him,” De Ridder offers.

Abbasov, the ONE Welterweight World Champion, has expressed interest in moving up a division, but the middleweight and light heavyweight king does not believe that would work out well for him.

“I think I’d be very dominant in a fight with Abbasov. Just because I’m better everywhere,” De Ridder says.

“I’m taller, I’m stronger, I’m rangier, I’m heavier, and he gets taken down by almost anybody. So he’ll definitely get taken down by me. So I see myself finishing that fight early.”

The Dutchman’s other preferred option would go in the opposite direction. Instead of having someone move up to meet him, De Ridder likes the thought of being the smaller man against ONE Heavyweight World Champion Arjan “Singh” Bhullar.

The pair already engaged in a war of words, and their elite skill sets would make for an incredible matchup.

“[A fight with Bhullar] would be more interesting because I’ll give up a lot of weight. He’ll probably have 20 pounds on me, maybe even more. So that might take some more time to finish him,” De Ridder says.

“I might have to put in some more work, tire him out, hit him to the body some more before I get the finish in that fight.”

De Ridder is supremely confident – and rightly so, given his perfect 14-0 slate and two-division World Championship success – but that doesn’t mean he is taking his rivals for granted.

He knows that Abbasov and Bhullar are at the top of their respective food chains and would offer up interesting tests for his return to action.

“Both are great challenges, and I’m looking forward to both of those fights,” De Ridder adds. 

For now, nothing has been set in stone for “The Dutch Knight’s” next battle, but fans can expect to see another evolution from the judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt when he steps back onto the global stage in 2022. 

Read more: Eersel Vs. Murtazaev, Stamp Vs. Phogat Top ONE: WINTER WARRIORS

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