Reinier de Ridder (ONE Championship)

Reinier de Ridder Discusses His Title Defense Rematch Against Anatoly Malykhin

Reinier de Ridder has already faced the power of Anatoly Malykhin, and he came out on the losing end. 

That result has fueled him ever since, and now “The Dutch Knight” is back and ready to prove to the world he can upend the two-division kingpin.

At ONE 166: Qatar, de Ridder will defend the ONE middleweight world championship against the Russian in the main event.


But the redemption arc is only one part for the Dutchman. He has been expanding his gym, Combat Brothers, back home with family and friends, and he wants to show out for them.

“Me and my brother, my buddy, we’ve been doing this together for so long. We’ve always shared blood, sweat, and tears on the mats. He helps me through all of my fights, so that’s where it started,” de Ridder told ONE.

The ONE middleweight MMA world champion has a passion for teaching, but his schedule doesn’t allow him to take advantage too often. 

Still, he finds the time to pass down the knowledge that brought him to the gold in two separate divisions in ONE Championship.

“I don’t get the chance to teach every day because it’s a lot of work. But I teach a couple days a week, and it’s always very fulfilling to see that normal people, not people who make a living out of this, who devote their life to fighting, but normal people who are lawyers, or they have a normal job, a normal life,” de Ridder remarked.

“They come in and they try to kill each other on the mats. It’s all very cool to me. It gives me a lot of energy to see them when they go at it.”

Operating a business can be difficult. From managaing the financials to keeping on top of the operations, there are a lot of moving parts. But thus far it has been smooth sailing for “The Dutch Knight.”

Building Combat Brothers with people he has his close relationships with means there are no egos, which allows everyone to focus on their passion for MMA and get their jobs done.

“It wasn’t ever too challenging, to be honest. All the people who teach for us are good friends who’ve been with us for years prior. Me and my buddy will always figure it out together. It’s never been about money. It’s just a thing we love,” de Ridder said.

“We would be on the mats every day, and we would host the gym like this every day even if we wouldn’t be making money there. It’s just something we love.”

Combat Brothers is more than just a teaching academy. It is a world-class gym with some of Europe’s best martial artists.

With de Ridder at the helm, those who aspire to reach his heights have targeted the gym as a landing spot to bring their game to the next level.

“So all the good guys, once they reach a certain level, they hit us up and they come to us. So we have a lot of already high-level pros who will join us at a later stage in their career,” de Ridder stated.

“But we have a couple of guys coming up now fighting their first few pro fights, as well, who really started with us. And they are doing pretty good, as well. So yeah, it’s cool.”

With elite athletes coming to his doorstep, “The Dutch Knight” has been afforded the luxury of getting the kind of training he needs right at home.

His rematch with the ONE heavyweight and light heavyweight champion may carry significant pressure, but at least de Ridder isn’t worried about his level of preparation.

“It’s cool that we have these times that we train with the pros. Everybody’s welcome. So whatever gym you represent, doesn’t matter. Just come and train with us,” he said.

“And it’s cool that I can have my training with world-class guys in my backyard, so I don’t have to travel. But I can get all the good guys coming to me, which is very nice.”

ONE 166 airs live on Friday, Mar. 1 from the Lusail Sports Arena in Qatar. The action begins at 7:30 a.m. EST/4:30 a.m. PST.