Anatoly Malykhin (ONE Championship)

Anatoly Malykhin Discusses His Plans for the Future

At ONE 166: Qatar earlier this month, Anatoly Malykhin made good on his promise to become a three-division champion with another dominant win over Reinier de Ridder to capture the ONE middleweight MMA title. 

Although the result was the same, Malykhin spoke with ONE Championship about the improvements he saw from “The Dutch Knight” inside the Circle the second time out. 

“This was a different Reinier to the one who weighed 102 kilos [225 pounds]. He was very strong and very motivated [at 205 pounds]. He improved his punching technique and became more dangerous and sharper,” Malykhin told ONE


“Of course, I didn’t have any big problems, but Reinier hit me once and rattled me. It felt like he knocked me down a little bit. It was the first time in my career that I have been dropped, and the hardest part was to get back into the fight and win.” 

“I think he’s a solid fighter. He still deserves another chance, but first, he needs to do two fights and get on a winning streak. And I need a heavyweight fight, then one at light heavyweight, and then I’m ready for a middleweight trilogy. This feud is not over.”  

The victory put Malykhin in a class of his own as MMA’s first-ever three-division world champion, but the Russian star doesn’t see it that way. 

Even with the ONE middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight MMA titles in his possession, he thinks he’ll only go down as one of the greats after accomplishing a few more milestones. 

“For me, this win does not make history. It’s always been clear I can do things in sports that no one else has ever done. I think history will be made when we get four belts and one more in boxing. Then we’ll make history. But, for now, this is just the beginning of our journey,” Malykhin stated. 

With three belts to defend, “Sladkiy” has plenty of options for what to do next. And it appears a return to heavyweight is up next. 

The recent resurgence of the division has put forth a number of worthy challengers, and two names jump off the page for Malykhin. 

“At the moment, I see two options. It’s “Reug Reug” [Oumar Kane] or [Amir] Aliakbari. I don’t know which one,” he said. 

“Aliakbari certainly deserves his rematch more at the moment because he’s got a four-fight winning streak and that’s very serious.” 

Who he faces in his first match as a three-division king means little to the undefeated Russian.  

He is prepared to take on all comers in any order they appear and believes the result will be the same as all his other matches. 

“I am ready to go in the ring with both of them on the same night,” Malykhin said. 

“Amir is in very good shape now. He has good boxing, and functionally he surprises me that he can breathe for all three rounds. I can’t wait for this fight. I think the audience is waiting for it too. So, let’s go.” 

“Thoughts [on a fight with ‘Reug Reug’]? Knockout in round one, win a bonus, then have a good time with my family after the win.”