Reinier de Ridder continued his incredible run of dominance with another submission victory at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The two-division MMA king defended his ONE Middleweight World Title against Vitaly Bigdash in the main event of ONE 159 on Friday, finishing the Russian inside a round and pushing his unbeaten slate to 16-0.
However, it wasn’t all one-way traffic for the Dutchman.
He was forced to navigate Bigdash’s striking and submission skills early on, before locking up a rare inverted triangle submission that choked his rival unconscious at 3:29.
Reflecting on that adversity and his victory, De Ridder said:
“The punch arrived, and it hit my neck. The guillotine arrived, and it was a little sloppy. But yeah, it was surprising. He was pretty strong, and he did well, but not well enough.
“I was never in any real trouble, but he was cranking it pretty hard. That was actually very good for me because he got tired. The moment he let go, I could get in some good ground-and-pound and I hit him with some good shots. And after that, you saw what happened, right?
“I’ve been doing [that move] for years. Everywhere I go, every gym I visit. If they don’t know what’s coming, I can get anybody in the world with this stuff.”
Bigdash came into Friday’s contest on a three-fight winning streak, and many pundits expected his well-rounded game to trouble De Ridder.
Meanwhile, “The Dutch Knight” vowed to finish the former divisional king – and while he thinks highly of the Russian star, he always expected to follow through on that promise.
The 31-year-old said:
“[Bigdash has] done a lot. He finished the same guys I did. He’s a great fighter. He works just as hard as me. He’s the same guy that I am. He puts in the work. He has a family. Of course, I respect him.
“But come on, before the fight, I’m going to be brash. I’m going to say I’m going to choke you out. And then in the fight, that’s what I’m going to do.”
De Ridder Wants Arjan Bhullar, Anatoly Malykhin ‘On The Same Night’
Reinier de Ridder respects the rivals he meets inside the Circle, but he’s confident he can defeat anyone who stands across from him.
And following his seventh consecutive MMA victory in ONE, the undefeated ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Champion is even more certain that he could move up to heavyweight and become an unprecedented three-division king.
“The Dutch Knight” said:
“This is what I do. I beat the champions. I beat every champion. Now, maybe another one. Maybe a little bit of a heavier one.
“The goal is to do something nobody else can. I did that by becoming a champ. I did that by becoming a double-champ. And now I want to keep going, beating everybody in the world. Because that’s special.”
While the heavyweights are set to unify their belts at some point this year, “The Dutch Knight” would rather face one of them next – or even both of them at the same event.
The Combat Brothers representative added:
“They’re talking about doing Malykhin and Bhullar first, but let me have my shot first. Both of them on the same night. I don’t care. [ONE] do mixed-rule stuff and whatever, so why not two opponents? Let’s do it.
“Put them in front of me. I’ll knock them out. I’ll choke them out. Anybody.”