Like many other athletes, ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Champion Regian “The Immortal” Eersel was forced to sit on the sidelines throughout 2020. But with the COVID-19 pandemic now under control in some parts of the world, he is hoping to make up for lost time this year.
The Dutch-Surinamese sensation last featured in ONE Championship during October 2019 when he defeated Nieky “The Natural” Holzken for the second consecutive time at ONE: DAWN OF VALOR, cementing his place as the division’s king.
Despite enduring the longest layoff of his career, Eersel never stopped preparing for his next challenger.
“Before this, the longest time I had not fought for was 10 months, so it wasn’t completely new to me, but it was a long time,” he says.
“I was a little disappointed I didn’t get to fight, but it’s out of my head now. What could I do? I just kept on training. That was easy for me, the motivation is always there. It doesn’t matter if there is a pandemic, no events, anything – I will keep training!”
These days, “The Immortal” is hoping that 2021 will offer up many more opportunities to compete.
“I don’t have goals or plans, I just hope I can fight,” he says. “Two, three, four times, maybe five or six — the more fights, the better.”
- After Tough Year, Aung La N Sang Is Hungry For Redemption In 2021
- Reinier De Ridder Shares His Big Plans For 2021
- The Top 5 ONE Super Series Fights We’d Love To See in 2021
When it comes to his next battle in the Circle, Eersel is ready for anybody that the matchmakers throw at him.
Some fans are clamoring for a trilogy bout with “The Natural,” but the champ would not have that showdown at the top of his list.
“There is nobody, in particular, I want to fight. I would be happy with anybody. After the last year, I just want to fight,” the Dutch-Surinamese star says.
“I have prepared for Mustapha Haida, so I can face him. Nieky, I have beaten two times already. John Wayne Parr is a good fighter, a veteran. I have a lot of respect for him, but he is not the biggest challenge for me.”
Challenges are what keep Eersel moving forward, and there is a big one in his future.
The 28-year-old is still focused on dominating ONE Super Series, but under the tutelage of his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt father, Chango Eersel, the star kickboxer is eyeing another sport.
“I am still training in BJJ, and I have plans to do mixed martial arts,” he reveals.
“I’ve started training for it already, but when I have a fight booked, I focus on kickboxing only. Once out of training for a fight, I pick it back up again. I think I could fight in mixed martial arts within two years – I just have to get my ground game up, and then I will be good to go.”
Like many of his peers, Eersel’s most pressing concern is getting back under the lights to compete on the global stage, and he has a message for the fans who are eagerly awaiting his return.
“Have patience,” he offers. “That is the only thing I can say. I don’t want to wait too long, either!”