“King Kong Warrior” Fan Rong is ready to make his ONE Championship and begin his run on the ONE Middleweight World Title.
It is a match-up that pits two exciting newcomers against each other in a contest that could identify a new contender for the weight class.
Fan explains he is looking forward to facing off with the undefeated Dutchman at the Mall of Asia Arena, and he believes he will have the edge.
“It’s a pleasure to compete with a good fighter like him,” he says.
“I admire him. I have been studying his matches, and so far, I think he is under my control.”
De Ridder may be undefeated, but Fan is riding a longer winning streak. The Longyun MMA representative has not tasted defeat since his first bout, and only one of his contests has gone the distance.
The “King Kong Warrior” does most of his best work on the mat – as his submissions and TKOs via ground and pound show – but he is confident he can make an impact with his striking skills in his ONE debut.
His opponent is also an outstanding grappler, but Fan thinks he has a clear weakness that can be exploited.
“His standing skills. He doesn’t have too much movement,” he suggests.
“I will block his fists, and attack him head-on.”
Fan is the latest Chinese prospect to make the leap from the regional scene to the big show with ONE, and the WMMAA Champion says the sport of mixed martial arts is beginning to take off in his homeland.
He says his breakthrough in the world’s largest martial arts organization will just be the beginning for his nation.
“Mixed martial arts is growing very fast in China. It has been accepted by more and more people,” he explains.
“Its image has changed from something [perceived as] violent to something inspiring and encouraging.
“I feel the time is coming for China to have more and more good fighters go to the world stage.”
Despite being clear on where he holds the greatest advantage, Fan will not be drawn on how he feels the bout will turn out.
“Oh, I can’t think of this. I need to focus myself,” he says when asked for a prediction.
That need stems from the 25-year-old’s obvious excitement about his impending ONE debut.
The opportunity to compete on the biggest stage in martial arts and travel across Asia has the Chinese star all fired up ahead of his first contest.
“I am very excited to fight for ONE because it is a big and international stage – and I got a chance to go abroad. Yes!” he exclaims.
“I’m sure it will be an exciting bout. I will try my best to win this bout with my best condition.”