Stefer “The Lion” Rahardian (9-1) feels like he needs to make a statement after his first career setback.
However, the Indonesian martial arts hero is still undefeated on home soil, and plans to keep it that way.
On Saturday, 22 September, he will square off against Chinese wrestling standout Peng Xue Wen in a highly-anticipated strawweight clash at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES, which broadcasts live from the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia.
Rahardian knows every competitor on the ONE Championship roster is a world-class martial artist, but he is dead set on leaving the cage with an eye-catching win.
“Everyone who fights in ONE is a strong athlete,” the 31-year-old begins.
“There is no reason to expect your next opponent would be any different, but I am sure I will deliver a stunning victory.”
Not only does Rahardian want to remain unbeaten on home soil, he desperately wants to get back into the win column following a rough showing two months ago.
Catalan nullified the Indonesian’s grappling, and overwhelmed him with elite-level striking en route to a unanimous decision.
Looking back on the contest, “The Lion” realizes he made some crucial errors.
“I was late in taking the intiative to attack Catalan, while also being less aggressive in taking him down,” the 31-year-old explains. “He is a very experienced fighter, and he was capable of taking the initiative with his strikes and kicks to beat me.”
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Although it may have been Rahardian’s first-career blemish, he learned, and he plans to use this setback to move forward.
“I do not want to wallow in my loss,” he continues.
“I simply want to achieve my best performance again, to gain victory, and improve my record.”
To do that, “The Lion” immediately returned to his intensive training sessions at Bali MMA, where he is tightening up his game and further refining his skill set.
“My coaches and teammates had seen my weaknesses and strengths in that match,” he says. “I am working my way into training all the basic skills I need to improve for the next fight.”
He will bring the lessons he learned, and his revamped skills, to the Jakarta Convention Center when he meets Peng at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES.
In the Chinese athlete, he faces an energetic man who has powerful boxing, and even stronger grappling.
Peng is a Chinese National Youth Greco-Roman Wrestling Champion who made the transition to mixed martial arts after his Olympic dreams were dashed in 2016.
The 22-year-old from China has flawlessly applied his elite wrestling ability to the cage, as he demonstrated in his win over Phat “Ice” Soda in November 2017. He also displayed his knockout power against Eddey Kalai this past July.
“He is a very good wrestler, and he also has lots of experience,” Rahardian acknowledges. “I have never underestimated any of my opponents.”
Rahardian believes the showdown will be an exciting clash of grappling styles, as it will test his rival’s wrestling against his Brazilian jiu-jitsu expertise.
While “The Lion” is supremely confident in his ability to deliver a stunning victory on 22 September, he is understandably tight-lipped about how he will accomplish that.
“I have entrusted all strategies to my team and coaches. I am going to follow all of their instructions,” he says.
“Right now, I cannot disclose anything ahead of the bout. I can only ask for support in my fight.”
Getting support will not be a problem for Rahardian. The humble warrior will be surrounded by an arena full of his countrymen, who will undoubtedly be cheering for their hero on 22 September.