Champion Says He Can Choke Out UFC’s Israel Adesanya ‘Easily’

Israel Adesanya

Getty Israel Adesanya

Reigning ONE light heavyweight and middleweight champion Reinier de Ridder doesn’t see the UFC 185-pound king, Israel Adesanya, as a threat.

The Dutch King,” who, according to a report from Sports Illustrated, is scheduled to defend his middleweight strap on July 22 against Vitaly Bigdash in Singapore, recently spoke with MMA Junkie about Adesanya.

De Ridder trains with Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi, and because of that, the 15-0 professional mixed martial artist knows his “level.” And he believes his ground game is above “The Last Stylebender’s.”

“By training with him (Mousasi), I know my level,” de Ridder said. “I know I can hang with the best of them. If I look at like Israel Adesanya, the way he moves, his style, it’s like tailor-made for me. That guy is the easiest fight for me at middleweight around at the top. The way he moves, he’s so easy to be taken down in the open space. His wrestling defense against the wall is amazing. He gets up well, he defends all right on the floor, but I think I can choke that guy out easily.”

The Last Stylebender is scheduled to defend his belt against Jared Cannonier as the UFC 276 headliner on July 2.

De Ridder Is Open to Leaving ONE for Another Promotion, Including UFC

Although The Dutch King is happy with ONE, De Ridder confirmed that he’ll be open to talking with other fight promotions when he becomes a free agent.

“We have a small opportunity to make good money to support our families, to invest in the future, so the more competition there is, the better,” de Ridder said. “Now there’s Bellator, there’s UFC, there’s ONE, there’s PFL. All good organizations where there’s money on the table, so if I go to free agency soon then I’ll be interested in talking to everyone, but I’m very happy with what ONE is doing, with what they’re offering me, so we’ll see.”

De Ridder Plans to ‘Dominate’ Bigdash in July

De Ridder spoke with Sports Illustrated about his upcoming fight with Bigdash. In short, he’s very confident that he’ll take out the 12-2 Russian.

“People are going to see me dominate Bigdash,” De Ridder said. “It’s going to end on his back with me choking the life out of him.”

The Dutch King knows Bigdash has earned the opportunity to fight for a title, but de Ridder will make sure it ends there. “He’s the next guy up and the No. 1 contender,” De Ridder continued. “He’s worked his way back to the title fight and deserves this shot, but it’s not going to end well for him.”

De Ridder Is a Physical Therapist, Quitting Practice Due to Amazon Prime Deal

Last month, ONE announced a multi-year broadcast deal with Amazon Prime. And for de Ridder, the deal is such major news that he’s planning on closing his physical therapy practice.

“I really no longer have the time to see my patients,” De Ridder said. “This is a big deal with Amazon. I am looking forward to taking this step into America, and I know I can compete with anyone from any organization.

“I just took a trip to Florida and trained at Sanford MMA and got a lot of good rounds in with guys from all the top organizations, and I know I could go with them. I know my skills, and I’m testing myself every week at Gegard [Mousasi’s] place, so my training gives me a lot of confidence. I am grateful for these opportunities to keep showing what I can do.”

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