Anatoly Malykhin wins ONE Championship 2022 MMA Athlete of the Year

Anatoly Malykhin -- Photo by ONE Championship
Anatoly Malykhin -- Photo by ONE Championship

Following his impressive conquest of the light heavyweight title in December to become the latest two-division world champion in ONE Championship, Russian fighter Anatoly Malykhin has earned the nod as the promotion’s “2022 MMA Athlete of the Year.”

34-year-old Malykhin, the reigning interim heavyweight titleholder, added the ONE light heavyweight title to his growing list of achievements by dethroning ‘The Dutch Knight’ Reinier de Ridder at ONE on Prime Video in Manila, Philippines.

‘Sladkiy’ made short work of de Ridder, dominating the previously unbeaten champ with his powerful and destructive punches. He didn't allow the Dutchman the opportunity to execute his vaunted submission moves.


Anatoly Malykhin was on top of things right from the opening bell of the title fight, finishing the affair with a strong right hook and some follow-up hammerfists that forced the referee to call a halt at the 4:35 mark of the first round.

Following the fight, Anatoly Malykhin told ONE Championship that he is only starting and more can be expected from him:

“I’m going to put on a show every time I come to the cage — I’m ready for anyone. I’m going to take on everyone, and I’m going to win, so get ready for me.”

The light heavyweight title conquest ended what was an eventful 2022 for Malykhin. The Russian maintained his unblemished record in two fights, while further solidifying his standing as king of ONE’s heavyweight class.

Possibly next for Anatoly Malykhin is a unification fight with ONE heavyweight world champion Arjan Bhullar, along with potential showdowns with other contenders for the light heavyweight world title.


Earning honorable mentions for ONE’s “2022 MMA Athlete of the Year” were ONE lightweight & welterweight titleholder Christian Lee, ONE featherweight world champion Tang Kai, ONE flyweight king Demetrious Johnson, and ONE strawweight champ Jarred Brooks.

Aung La N Sang expects continuous rise for Anatoly Malykhin

Former ONE Championship two-division world champion ‘The Burmese Python’ Aung La N Sang believes Anatoly Malykhin has what it takes to stay at the top of his class. That's owing to the Russian’s well-developed skill set.

In a recent interview, Aung La told ONE Championship:

“He [Anatoly Malykhin] is very impressive. When he started off, we thought he was just a wrestler with good boxing. But now we can see he’s well-rounded. He’s a great mixed martial artist and a world champion in two divisions. He’s going to do big things.”

Aung La was both ONE middleweight and light heavyweight world champion at one point before losing both belts to Reinier de Ridder in 2020 and 2021, respectively.


He has since been angling to return to title contention, going 2-1. His latest victory come at the expense of Japanese middleweight Yushin Okami by way of a first-round technical knockout in November last year.

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Edited by Harvey Leonard
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