“The Dutch Knight” Reinier De Ridder was a two-division world champion, and he was unbeaten in mixed martial arts before his meeting with ONE interim heavyweight champion Anatoly Malykhin last December. But, in less than a round, the Dutchman lost that record and dropped the ONE light heavyweight title to the Russian bulldozer.
Although it was a devastating setback, de Ridder has taken it in stride, and he plans to make a strong return to the ONE Circle on Friday, May 5, when he steps in for a special submission grappling super-fight against Tye Ruotolo at ONE Fight Night 10 on Prime Video in Colorado.
“Shit happens, man. I’ve never lost a fight before. I’ve never really been hurt in training. It was tough, but I was always prepared for this. I know that if you stick around long enough, if you look for the largest challenges – which I do – shit happens,” de Ridder told ONE Championship.
In true champion mindset, the loss has made him even more driven in training. The 32-year-old is still very much in his prime, and he wants to return to the winner’s column in exciting fashion. 2023 is a year for redemption, at least according to the man himself.
“[Getting back to winning ways] is the most important thing. I got redemption on my mind. I’m fully focused on setting things straight,” said The Dutch Knight.
“This is my year, man. I’m setting everything straight. I’m starting with a grappling match and some MMA fights to cap it off.”
This will be de Ridder’s second submission grappling match on the global stage. His first came against Ruotolo’s trainer, Andre Galvao, at ONE X last March. The match ended in a draw, but often saw The Dutch Knight being the aggressor.
As such, when he heard Ruotolo call him out, it didn’t come as a surprise.
“I expected something like that. It’s very cool that I got a shot at this. I got to grapple Andre Galvao, and I get to grapple Tye Ruotolo, who’s one of the hottest prospects right now in grappling,” de Ridder said.
“I’m not even a grappler. I’m an MMA fighter, so it’s very cool that I get this opportunity.”
In his match against Galvao, the Brazilian veteran noted that de Ridder’s length was an issue. The same can be expected when he takes on Ruotolo, and it could give him some chance to succeed against one of the most heralded grapplers in the sport.
The ONE middleweight champion isn’t planning to simply compete. He wants to showcase his elite grappling and shock the BJJ world by submitting the talented teen.
“It’s going to be a very dynamic and a very explosive match. 10 minutes seems like it’s a long time, but for a grappling match, it’s kind of short. The plan is to submit him. So I’m going to be chasing him from the get-go,” said de Ridder.
“I have the physical advantage. I am heavier and longer. He might have a bit of technical advantage because he’s a pure grappler. I think it’s going to be a very exciting match.”
ONE Fight Night 10 on Prime Video goes down live from the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado, on Friday, May 5. The event begins at 8 p.m. ET live on Prime Video to all Amazon Prime subscribers in the U.S. and Canada.