Undefeated mixed martial artist Reinier de Ridder has earned both the ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Titles, so he’s qualified to judge whether someone else has the potential to reach the top of the sport.
And when “The Dutch Knight” shared the mats with surging heavyweight Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida on his trip to the United States in April, he already knew the 17-time BJJ World Champion would be a great training partner.
However, he didn’t expect to receive the grappling icon’s sole attention for the entire session, and he came away with valuable experience from their time at American Top Team in Florida.
De Ridder said:
“It was a big honor. I came there, I arrived a little late, but they finally let me in. I stepped on the mat, and ‘Buchecha’ was training with someone else. But he said, ‘Let’s train together.’ So we got in like an hour, an hour and a half of straight training.
“[We did] a lot of rounds. It was a very good session, a grueling session. And it’s just cool, man. It was cool to train with a guy who I’ve looked up to for a while and to measure myself with his skill set.”
“The Dutch Knight” was certainly expecting to witness the Brazilian’s famous grappling firsthand, and “Buchecha” did not disappoint.
At the same time, the BJJ legend apparently showcased massive improvements in his all-around MMA game.
It was so impressive that De Ridder thinks Almeida will be ready to test himself against the heavyweight division’s top contenders in the near future.
The Dutchman said:
“[His skill set] definitely is [as good as they say]. His takedowns are very, very good. His striking is coming along as well. And as his ground game is next level. So yeah, I think he might be getting up there [against the top guys] sooner.”
Buchecha Won’t Rush His Journey To The Top
Reinier de Ridder is confident that Marcus “Buchecha” Almedia is becoming a dangerous threat in ONE’s heavyweight MMA division.
And with a 3-0 record – along with a trio of first-round finishes – the BJJ great has been dominant since transitioning to the all-around sport.
However, the 32-year-old Brazilian is content to take his time and build up his complete arsenal before he challenges for World Title gold on the global stage.
“Buchecha” said after his last win over Simon Carson:
“It wasn’t really long ago [since my debut], right? The first fight was in September, so it was less than a year apart from the fight from today. But one thing I can say is I’m feeling really confident in the cage. I’m learning the game, and every fighter becomes more comfortable. I’m not rushing anything. I’m taking my time to do everything.”