Reinier de Ridder Appears to be like To Redeem Himself Utilizing His Weaknesses

Dutch mixed martial artist, Reinier de Ridder has won two silver medals in the European Championships during his career and also held two titles at the same time in ONE Championship after capturing the ONE Middleweight MMA title as well as the light heavyweight belt. w, the man they call “The Dutch Knight” is facing the most difficult phase of his career. After losing his ONE Light Heavyweight MMA World Championship to Anatoly Malykhin back in December, 2022, de Ridder will now defend his middleweight crown against the same man that took his lightweight belt. M&F caught up with Reinier de Ridder as he prepares for this critical match ahead of ONE 166.

“I’m a middleweight, and when I fought at light heavyweight I was like at 97 kilos (214 pounds). I maybe put on around 2 kilos of fat and that’s about it,” the 6’3” de Ridder says about straddling two weight classes. “I’ve never really been at the top of the weight limit for light heavyweight. So, middleweight is my weight class, my natural weight class, and (the weight) is easy to make for me. I’m not the heaviest guy in the middleweights so this is a good spot for me.”

Courtesy of One Championship

Reinier De Ridder Is Throwing Bodies Around In the Gym

Of course, middleweight is the division that de Ridder hopes to maintain ownership of when he faces his old nemesis, Malykhin, on March 1, but the last several months have also provided de Ridder with some uplifting moments while training at his Combat Brothers Gym in the Netherlands. “My strength and conditioning, I do at the gym,” he says. “I have my physio practice there. The gym itself is good. Over the last couple of years, all the good guys from our area, like all the top Belgian guys have flocked to our gym. All the Dutch top guys have come to our gym, so I have a lot of bodies to work with. I have everything at my disposal, and I’ve put it to good use over the last year.”

For Reinier de Ridder, his Combat Brothers gym also provides an opportunity to share his vast MMA knowledge and experience with newer athletes. “it’s very cool,” says the middleweight champ. “I really enjoy teaching the kids. I don’t do it every week, but once in a while I’ll step in and take over the classes, which is really fun. You see them really grow.” de Ridder himself has undergone his own personal growth after being knocked out in devastating fashion by Malykhin in late 2022. He’d racked up 16 wins in pro MMA before losing his light heavyweight belt.

De Ridder’s Fights His Weaknesses to Become The Best Possible Fighter

“I’ve had a lot to learn, of course, from that fight,” says de Ridder. “It didn’t go my way, it didn’t go my way in a major way, but all the small little things that went wrong, like the most basic little things like me; I was too light. He had a lot of weight on me, which is something I corrected. (Then,) from a lot of technical stuff; mentally I wasn’t in the right frame of mind at that time. So, I’ve made a list of everything that went wrong. I wrote it down and I’ve been grinding at it ever since.”

So, how did de Ridder increase his weight? “Lifted a sh** ton of weights!” he laughs. “And, eat some more food, so I gained a couple of pounds of mass. I got a little heavier, a little stronger, which is important for this match-up.” The fighter shares that he has been eating six eggs for lunch and devouring a steak for dinner every day in order to bulk up ahead the most important bout of his illustrious career. For the first time ever, ONE Championship is heading to Qatar with ONE 166, broadcasts live from Lusail Sports Arena on Friday, March 1. de Ridder tells M&F that he loves ONE Championship’s focus on sportsmanship, and says he appreciates the fact that there is less “trash talking” before fights. The must-see blockbuster event will be stacked with three World Title clashes in total, featuring a mix of MMA, Muay Thai, boxing, and submission grappling.

Reinier de Ridder will defend his ONE Middleweight MMA World Championship against Anatoly Malykhin this Friday at ONE 166: Qatar, live on Prime Video in the U.S./Canada and on around the world.

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