ONE Championship's Anatoly Malykhin would "take Francis Ngannou down and smash him," says Chatri Sityodtong

Anatoly Malykhin celebrates with his three ONE Championship world titles in Doha.
Anatoly Malykhin celebrates with his three ONE Championship world titles in Doha.

ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong has proclaimed new three-division MMA champion Anatoly Malykhin the "baddest man on the planet" – and is confident he would easily defeat Francis Ngannou.

Malykhin finished Reinier de Ridder in the third round to win ONE's middleweight title at Friday's ONE 166 card in Doha, Qatar. He also earned his fourth straight performance bonus in ONE Championship.

After making history, having also claimed the heavyweight and light heavyweight titles in ONE Championship, the 36-year-old Russian and his boss quickly turned their thoughts to hypothetical potential cross-promotional fights.

Sportskeeda asked Sityodtong how he felt Malykhin would fare against the likes of former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou during the post-event press conference backstage at Lusail Sports Arena.

The ONE boss said:

"There's no question Anatoly is the greatest heavyweight on the planet, full stop. Put aside different organisations and marketing. He has a 100 per cent finish rate, one-punch KO power. He would take Francis Ngannou down and smash him. He's an elite wrestler."

Sityodtong insisted he wanted to invite the best heavyweights on the planet to "come and join ONE Championship" and face Malykhin. He added:

"Anatoly can fight anybody. There's no question in my mind. If you look at his achievements, to win in three different weight divisions, 25 kilos difference, it's super human to see what he did and it speaks volumes to his talent, skills and championship heart."
Chatri Sityodtong congratulates Anatoly Malykhin after his win over Reinier de Ridder.
Chatri Sityodtong congratulates Anatoly Malykhin after his win over Reinier de Ridder.

Sitting alongside Sityodtong with his new title perched on the table, Malykhin grabbed his microphone to chip in his thoughts on the matter at the conclusion of ONE 166.

He said:

"Hey Ngannou, you're next – you're my chocolate pound cake. Let's go."

Malykhin's meteoric rise in ONE Championship

Asked later by a member of the local media how a fight with Ngannou – who will box Anthony Joshua next weekend in Saudi Arabia – would go, Malykhin smiled again. He said:

"I have the best trainer in the world in boxing, Johnny Hutchinson. Therefore, he [Ngannou] doesn't stand a chance."

Malykhin paid further tribute to his boxing coach Hutchinson, with whom he has worked at Tiger Muay Thai for the last three years in Phuket.

Their partnership quickly paid dividends in ONE Championship, with Malykhin claiming the interim heavyweight MMA title in January 2022 before finishing Arjan Bhullar last summer to snatch the real thing.

In between, the Russian flattened De Ridder inside one round at ONE 164 in Manila in December 2023 to secure the light heavyweight strap.

Malykhin added of his coach:

"Every day, Johnny call me, 4am, 'Hey Anatoly, let's go – wake up. let's go champ, let's go.' Johnny is crazy coach, I love this guy, three years every day hard work."

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Edited by C. Naik
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