On February 25, Reinier de Ridder, two-division One Championship champion, will defend his middleweight title. De Ridder (14-0, 5-0 One) seized that title from previous owner, Aung La N Sang, by decision following a dominant performance at One on TNT 4 last April. Now The Dutch Knight meets the current welterweight kingpin, Kiamrian Abbasov, who moves up a division to become a doubles champion in turn. De Ridder is known for spending his training camps exclusively in his native Netherlands, where he gets to work alongside top-flight training partners including current Bellator MMA 185lb champion Gegard Mousasi.
“I trained with you [Mousasi] for three years,” said de Ridder. “He’s just an incredible help. We put a lot of work together, it’s always a war. Also, he’s a very smart guy. He knows a lot about fighting. He explains things to me about strikes in a very simple, basic way that I never thought of before. I owe him a lot for that.”
Alongside the championship headliner, the upcoming One: Full Circle card features a duel between former champions Aung La and Vitaly Bigdash. When asked if he thinks the winner of this fight deserves a title shot, de Ridder mentioned Bigdash as a possible challenger and denied any interest in a trilogy with Aung La.
“If it’s Bigdash, yes. If it’s Aung La, come on, I’ve been there, I’ve done that. The first time I choked him out quickly, the second time I dominated him for five laps. What remains to prove? I wish him a good career, I wish him all the best, but yes.”
De Ridder also spoke about his plans to move up to heavyweight and capture a third belt, opened up his new gym and more.
(00:50) Leaving the Netherlands after a violent storm
(01:32) Enjoying his time before the fight
(02:20) His camp for Abbasov
(03:31) Stay on the sidelines for 10 months
(04:10) Opening of a new gym
(04:40) Spends his camps in Europe
(06:05) Training with Mousasi
(06:40) How he sees the fight
(07:07) His plans to move up to heavyweight
(07:50) His thoughts on the current heavyweight situation
(08:45) Commentary on Abbasov moving up a division
(10:05) Selection of Aung La vs. Vitaly Bigdash
(11:16) Does he think the winner of this fight deserves a title shot
Tudor Leonte began writing about mixed martial arts for Italian media in 2013. His journey with Sherdog began in 2018 and he now covers One Championship and countless European shows. You can follow him on Twitter @Mr. Tudor Leonte.
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