Reece McLaren ‘Pretty Stoked’ About 2022, Hopes To Compete In ONE’s U.S. Debut

Reece McLaren celebrates win over Windson Ramos

Reece “Lightning” McLaren has little to complain about this year. After all, he picked up a pair of hard-earned wins in ONE Championship’s talent-rich flyweight division.

A former ONE Bantamweight World Title challenger, the Australian star has fought his way to the #4 spot of the flyweight rankings and is nearing a shot at the weight class’s coveted gold belt.

McLaren is, overall, satisfied with his past year inside the Circle.

However, always the entertainer, “Lightning” wishes that at least one of his two wins would have earned him a $50K reward from ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.

He tells ONEFC.com:

“I was pretty stoked in 2022. I would’ve liked to have won a [performance] bonus. That would’ve been nice, but that didn’t happen either. But it’s all good. I’ll just try to keep getting better, and every single time you’ll see a better me in there.”

The 31-year-old kicked off his year in electrifying fashion, finishing China’s top flyweight, Xie Wei, inside one round at ONE 158 in June.

After surviving an early knockdown, McLaren stormed back to end the fight by rear-naked choke and become the only athlete in ONE to submit the 26-year-old phenom.

He recalls:

“For sure, it was a fun one. He hadn’t been stopped, and I was the first one to stop him. And it was inside the first [round] with a choke. I survived his most dangerous weapons — his hands.”

Next, in October at ONE 162, the BJJ black belt showed off his newfound striking prowess, thanks in part to the tutelage of Muay Thai icon John Wayne Parr.

Over the course of two rounds, McLaren battered grappling specialist Windson Ramos with heavy punches and kicks, leaving the Brazilian unable to answer the bell for the final frame. However, if Ramos had decided to continue, McLaren saw it continuing only one way.

He says:

“We had a pretty dominant, strong advantage on the feet, so we kept it there. In a way I’m a bit disappointed, [because] if we had come to the third, he was going to get more smoke. He didn’t want anymore, so he did the best thing.”

Reece McLaren Targets Fight At ONE On Prime Video 10

Now firmly entrenched in the flyweight division’s top five, Reece McLaren is aiming for a potential World Title shot in 2023.

Before he gets his crack at the belt, however, he wants to showcase his skill set to American fans alongside two of the flyweight division’s greatest at ONE on Prime Video 10 on May 5.

On that day, flyweight king Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson will defend his belt against rival Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes in the main event of ONE’s historic U.S. debut.

McLaren, for one, would be more than happy to share an event with one of the GOATs of MMA.

He says:

“One of the biggest markets in mixed martial arts is the United States, and just getting there alone is a huge step. I would absolutely love to be on that card. I think you’ll have the most eyes on it. DJ draws a card. I mean, who doesn’t want to be on it?”

Whether it’s on that blockbuster card or another one of the organization’s action-packed events, the Australian wants a rematch with old foe and #3-ranked flyweight contender Danny Kingad.

The pair first battled in 2019 in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix semifinals at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES, where Kingad walked away with a razor-thin split decision.

With his new striking skills to go along with an already stellar ground game, the Australian is now aiming for redemption.

McLaren said:

“I definitely want Danny Kingad next. We should’ve run it back earlier.”

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