Reinier de Ridder is always hungry for competition and he’s willing to step into the cage with anyone, regardless of promotion. The 31-year-old recently revealed he is confident he could beat UFC middleweight world champion Israel Adesanya, arguably the most dangerous striker in MMA today.
Adesanya is booked to face former champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 271 in February and de Ridder says he is excited to see this epic rematch play out. In an interview with ONE Championship, the Dutchman said:
“I think he's a good guy, does well. He’s long and rangy like myself. Yeah, he’s doing work. I'm very interested to see his match with Whittaker this time around.”
Adesanya enjoyed a successful kickboxing career before transitioning to MMA in 2012, where he replicated that success on his way to a 21-1 record. However, Reinier de Ridder believes that ‘The Last Stylebender’ is still lacking in certain areas.
“I think he's putting in the work. But it's just hard to catch up in a few years. There's guys who've been on the mats wrestling, grappling, since we're five years old, like myself. You can never catch up. So if he faces a grappler he better pray to God he can keep standing.”
Asked what he thinks of a hypothetical dream match against Adesanya, de Ridder responded this way:
“I think that's one of the easiest middleweight fights for me. Because in the open space, he just gets taken down very easily. Those two takedowns Jan [Blachowicz] made were alright, but they weren't the most technical I've ever seen in my life. He defends very well against the cage. He's got a lot of good tools with his whizzers, with his under hooks, he pushes the head nicely and he does well against the cage. A big base. But in the open space, he almost has no takedown defense at all. And in the stand up, he is my size, so he has almost identically my range. I think he's a bit shorter than I am, so I wouldn't fear him in the stand up either.”
Reinier de Ridder to headline ONE: Full Circle
Reinier de Ridder will quench his thirst for competition at ONE: Full Circle. He'll defend the ONE middleweight world championship against welterweight king Kiamran Abbasov.
Abbasov has expressed his interest in moving up to middleweight. While de Ridder was not opposed to sharing the stage with Abbasov, he also believes he is better in all aspects and can finish their fight early.
With the fight finally happening, de Ridder can back up his claims with a quick win on March 26.