To say that Reinier de Ridder is confident may be an understatement. But ONE Championship’s middleweight and light heavyweight king has every right to be.
The Dutchman is undefeated in his ONE tenure and has achieved a jaw-dropping level of success with a dominance that speaks to his world-class skill set. Now, he returns to the Circle to defend his ONE middleweight championship against Kiamrian Abbasov at ONE Championship: Full Circle on Friday, Feb. 25.
“I’m not underestimating him,” De Ridder said of Abbasov in an interview with ONE. “I see his technique is crisp. I see he’s got championship heart. But once I get a hold of that neck, I’ll finish anybody in the world. He’s a durable fighter. He’s a good fighter all-around. I just think I’m on another level, and I’ll showcase that.”
The Combat Brothers star has been peerless since arriving in ONE. He has a perfect 5-0 in the organization with three finishes, and those performances give him the confidence to continue that streak against the ONE welterweight champion. De Ridder expects to be better in all areas during their main event contest.
“I’m better overall,” said de Ridder. “I’m rangier in striking. I’ll be able to touch him when I want to. I’m the better grappler, I’ll take anybody down in the world, and I’ll finish anybody in the world as well.”
With all that said, de Ridder isn’t taking Abbasov lightly. The two-division king was complimentary of his opponent’s overall skill set. He complimented how well he blends his striking and wrestling together, and he claimed this makes him a threat no matter where the action takes place. But his supreme confidence is unshakable, and it gives de Ridder a clear view on how he predicts the match will go down.
“I see this going one of two ways, depending on how he comes out,” said “The Dutch Knight”. “I think he’ll be a bit hesitant to come in. I’ll hit him with some jabs, front kick him, push him against the fence, push him back, and take him down. I see myself passing the guard pretty easily and getting the side choke at the end of the first or beginning of the second round.
“But he might come out guns blazing, and I might be able to take him out on the feet as well. I want to finish him as quickly as possible.”
If he accomplishes his task on Feb. 25, de Ridder is ready to hop right back inside the ONE Circle against his next challenger. The ONE middleweight and light heavyweight champion was adamant that he wants a bout every quarter in 2022.
The 31-year-old star isn’t shy about calling his shots, nor should he be. He hasn’t just ascended to the top of two divisions, but he has shot to stardom as one of the best pound-for-pound athletes in the world, who is actively defending two titles.
If he secures yet another win on the global stage against another champion, no one will deny him of his stature in the sport. Yes, de Ridder carries the swagger of ultimate confidence, but he backs it up along the way.
The Dutch Knight rides into ONE: Full Circle prepared to continue cementing his legacy. The world is taking notice, and 2022 may be the year they come to realize that de Ridder is everything he says he is and more.