ONE Middleweight World Champion Reinier “The Dutch Knight” de Ridder wasn’t expecting to compete this week against ONE Lightweight World Champion Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang, but after Vitaly Bigdash withdrew from the “ONE on TNT IV” main event, De Ridder found himself on a plane heading to Singapore.
“I was on the beach with my family when I got the call on Thursday morning,” De Ridder said.
“I wanted to say yes straight away, but I said, ‘Let me get two seconds to talk to my wife.’ Then I called right back and said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it!’”
De Ridder might’ve hesitated before responding to the question, but make no mistake – he’s certain that he’s up for the task.
After all, the Dutchman defeated Aung La N Sang by first-round submission at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX in October. And while he isn’t expecting the victory to come so easily this time, he still expects another early finish.
“I expect him to be very much ready and I expect him to be the best I’ve ever faced,” De Ridder said.
“After a loss like that — that early and that dominant — I think he will have been very active in the last six months trying to correct his mistakes. He’s a true martial artist, so I don’t expect anything else.
“I think it’s going to be a little more of a hassle to get him down this time. Last time, he ran toward me and tried to put the pressure on early, which really benefited me in taking him down.
“I think, this time, he is going to be a little more hesitant, a little more careful, so I’m going to have to put in some more work to get him down, but I still see him ending up on the ground and getting choked out again.”
If “The Dutch Knight” manages to do follow through on his prediction, he will fill the shoes that Aung La N Sang once wore as a two-division ONE World Champion.
“This is a huge chance for me to become champ-champ,” De Ridder added.
“I train every day of my life and I was going with full intensity because of a fight I was scheduled to take with [ONE Welterweight World Champion Kiamrian] Abbasov, so I’m in great shape.
“I’m fitter and stronger than ever, and I’m very sharp. I’d just taken a week off for the holidays, but maybe that benefited me as well.”
Will “The Dutch Knight” pull off another submission win to claim another belt, or will Aung La N Sang redeem himself and defend his light heavyweight gold?
Find out this Thursday, 29 April, when “ONE on TNT IV” airs on the ONE Super App at 8:30 a.m. SGT.
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