De Ridder keen to stay at top

De Ridder keen to stay at top

Dutchman Reinier de Ridder.
Dutchman Reinier de Ridder.

Reinier de Ridder has had a busy few months in One Championship.

After defending his One middleweight world title against welterweight king Kiamrian Abbasov in February, the two-division title-holder stepped into submission grappling action with Brazilian jiu-jitsu icon Andre Galvao a month later.

Now, "The Dutch Knight" is preparing for his latest world title defence.

Former middleweight world champion Vitaly Bigdash will challenge De Ridder in the main event of One 159: De Ridder v Bigdash on July 22 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and the Russian powerhouse hopes to hand the Dutchman the first loss of his career.

De Ridder is as laid back as ever ahead of his upcoming bout, but he is also determined to maintain his position at the top of the middleweight division.

To help with this, he recently spent some time training with a host of great athletes in the United States.

And one athlete the 31-year-old was particularly pleased to work with was BJJ legend, and burgeoning MMA star, Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida.

"It was a big honour. I came there, I arrived a little late, but they finally let me in. I stepped on the mat, and Buchecha was training with someone else. But he said, 'Let's train together.' So we got in like an hour, an hour and a half of straight training," De Ridder said.

"[We did] a lot of rounds. It was a very good session, a gruelling session. And it's just cool, man. It was cool to train with a guy who I've looked up to for a while and to measure myself with his skill set."

Almeida is a 17-time BJJ world champion, so he knows what it's like to go for the greatest of golds, but he is also a red-hot commodity in One's heavyweight division, having made the switch to MMA last year and won all of his matches so far.

De Ridder spent some time on the mats with the Brazilian star, and he noted just how impressive he was there.

However, he also noticed Buchecha's improved all-around game as well, and he believes that his skills may hit world-class status very soon.

"[His skill set] definitely is [as good as they say]. His takedowns are very, very good. His striking is coming along as well. And as his ground game is next level. So yeah, I think he might be getting up there [against the top guys] sooner," De Ridder said.

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