ONE Middleweight World Champion Reinier “The Dutch Knight” de Ridder was a serious contender for Fighter of the Year honors following a stellar 2022, which saw him dominate left and right – until he met ONE Interim Heavyweight World Champion and now ONE Light Heavyweight World Champion Anatoly “Sladkiy” Malykhin just before the year ended.
But they say that greatness is measured by how one bounces back from the depths of defeat, and that’s exactly what De Ridder plans to do this year.
“[Getting back to winning ways] is the most important thing. I got redemption on my mind. I’m fully focused on setting things straight,” he said.
“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.”
Perspective will be key for De Ridder, especially since his mental strength will be tested in his return.
Losing for the first time is certainly a tough pill to swallow, but losing the way he did against Malykhin? That’s an entirely different story, and it seems like De Ridder’s taking it well, knowing that it’s all part of the career he’s chosen.
“S*** 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,” he said.
“I know that if you stick around long enough, if you look for the largest challenges – which I do – s*** happens.”
Now De Ridder will start off his year when he takes on Tye Ruotolo in a submission grappling match at ONE Fight Night 10: Johnson vs. Moraes III on 6 May.
“It’s going to be a very dynamic and a very explosive match. Ten 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,” he said.
“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.”