The ONE middleweight world title showdown between reigning champion Reinier de Ridder and Russian challenger Vitaly Bigdash is right around the corner. The two will finally clash in the main event of ONE 159 on July 22.
‘The Dutch Knight’ will be putting up one of his two world titles against a former world champion intent on reclaiming gold after more than five years.
The build-up to the showdown has been an entertaining war of words that will continue up until they enter the circle, though De Ridder has set his sights on more than just the impending clash with Bigdash.
Interestingly, Reinier de Ridder has expressed a desire to add a third world title to his mantle by competing for the promotion’s heavyweight strap once his business with the Russian is over.
ONE’s current interim heavyweight world titleholder Anatoly Malykhin took notice of De Ridder’s comments and suggested that ’The Dutch Knight’ stay in his lane.
Malykhin decided to take a jab at at ‘The Dutch Knight’ in one of ONE Championship’s recent post on Instagram, offering fans the opportunity to ask the two-division world champion anything.
“Ask Reinier de Ridder ANYTHING 🤩 Do you have any burning questions for the two-division ONE World Champion? Drop yours in the comments below 👇 Catch "The Dutch Knight" defend his middleweight strap against Vitaly Bigdash this Friday at ONE 159! @deriddermma”
Check out the Instagram post below:
Getting in on the fun, Malykhin posted a question to De Ridder in the comments.
“How quickly will Malykhin knock you out?”
The champion was quick to clap back at the Russian heavyweight’s remark saying:
“do you mean the short little heavyweight?”
Anatoly Malykhin advises Reinier de Ridder to stay away from the heavyweight division
While De Ridder has his hands full with a ONE 159 main event against Vitaly Bigdash, it’s clear the undefeated fighter from Breda, Netherlands, is ready to take over another division.
While speaking to ONE Championship, De Ridder said:
“I’ve been saying this for too long now. But come on, give me a shot at heavyweight.”
Anatoly Malkyhin responded to the comments, sternly warning ‘The Dutch Knight’ to avoid the heavyweight division:
“He [De Ridder] is a good fighter, of course, since he holds two belts and has zero [losses on his] record. He is worthy of respect. He has decent wrestling. He strikes very badly and he is a very slow, protracted fighter. Compared to me, I think I will drop him down in seven minutes, maximum."
As the promotion’s interim heavyweight world champion, Malykhin is expected to face current heavyweight world champion Arjan Bhullar in a unification bout. No date has been announced for the matchup yet, however, it is isn't too far-fetched to assume that if Reinier de Ridder passes his test against Bigdash at ONE 159, ‘The Dutch Knight’ could very well meet the winner of a potential Bhullar versus Malykhin showdown:
“It would be a big mistake for him to move a category up. He should expect very big trouble. My wrestling is on the highest level, plus my boxing is on a different level. I think he shouldn’t do that.”