• Reinier De Ridder is open to facing the UFC's Israel Adesanya and Jan Blachowicz
  • De Ridder has yet to suffer loss in his professional fighting career
  • De Ridder is confident in beating either Adesanya or Blachowicz

Confidence is key when it comes to reaching the top of the proverbial hill in mixed martial arts (MMA).

For Reinier de Ridder, the reigning ONE Championship middleweight and light heavyweight kingpin, he does not lack in this department.

After taking possession of both belts from promotional stalwart Aung La N Sang over the past few months, De Ridder is riding a wave of confidence and momentum, stemming from comprehensive back-to-back performances against one of the company’s biggest stars.

Speaking about the proverbial UFC vs. ONE Championship mega-event that Chatri Sityodtong himself said he was open to doing months ago, De Ridder also likes the idea of co-promoted matchups against UFC champions Israel Adesanya and Jan Blachowicz.

As expected, De Ridder believes he could beat both of them, starting with Adesanya.

“Adesanya, he gets taken down pretty easily in the center of the Octagon, or in the center of the Circle. Even a guy like [Marvin] Vettori took him down, Jan himself pretty easily took him down in the center as well,” De Ridder told International Business Times.

“His takedown defense against the fence is a lot better, but his takedown defense in open space is just—to be honest—terrible.”

De Ridder is a grappler by trade, training in judo at the ripe age of five years old before adding Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to his arsenal years later.

Since his full-time transition to MMA, the 30-year-old Dutchman has been perfect, winning all 14 of his professional bouts and collecting 10 submissions along the way.

His grappling prowess is aided by a sophisticated fight IQ, which helps him to identify and attack weaknesses in opponents.

“[Adesanya] is sloppy where strikes transition into wrestling, he’s very crisp in single straight strikes and he has great range control, but once you step in and throw one or two punches high, he tends to lean back. And the leaning back is very easy to take him down off of, as both Jan and Vettori showed,” he said.

“He’ll have to come [forward] to try and hit me, and when he does, I’ll be able to take him down.”

The double-champ believes Adesanya struggled against less technical takedown attempts in his last bout against Vettori, a far cry from De Ridder’s technically sound takedown acumen.

Should the hypothetical fight make its way to the ground, Adesanya would be deeply entrenched in De Ridder’s world.

It’s a realm in which De Ridder believes will aid him in dominating the fight.

As for a bout against the UFC’s 205-pound helmsman, Błachowicz, De Ridder likes his chances, comparing the Polish standout to his most recent opponent.

“Jan is a little shorter than I am, he has a great right hand, a great right kick, so who comes to mind? To me, Aung La N Sang...very explosive, very dangerous and can knock you out with any shot,” said De Ridder.

“He struggles with rangy guys and grapplers, and I am both.”

Reinier De Ridder applies Rear-Naked Choke Over Aung La N Sang
Reinier De Ridder applies Rear-Naked Choke Over Aung La N Sang ONE Championship photo release

De Ridder conceded that Błachowicz is physically stronger and heavier than he is, but did not see that as a significant issue, citing his advanced grappling as a superior advantage.

He added that utilizing his jab and front kicks to bait Blachowicz into closing the distance would behoove him in his attempt to bring the fight to the canvas.

With the seeds planted for a ONE Championship vs. UFC mega event, matchmakers and fans alike will be hard-pressed to choose between either of these matchups. Either way, excitement is all but guaranteed.