Reinier de Ridder, ONE 159

Reinier De Ridder Interview: ONE Championship’s best kept secret

With ONE X coming tomorrow, there’s a laundry list of mega names on the card: Rodtang vs. Demetrious Johnson, Nong-O, Stamp Fairtex vs. Angela Lee, and a laundry list of other names. But one that’s flying under the radar is the promotion’s middleweight champion, Reinier De Ridder, who is stepping in to face Brazilian Jiu Jitsu legend Andre Galvao in a grappling match. Galvao is a six time ADCC World Champion and a tough task for De Ridder but he’s excited to take the chance and have some fun grappling.

In his last fight at ONE Championship: Full Circle, Reinier De Ridder defended his belt against Kiamrian Abbasov. It was a hellacious pace put on by De Ridder from the jump. He went out to get a submission and he did just that. Early in the third round, after an onslaught of ground and pound and submission attempts, De Ridder managed to break Abbasov and get the arm triangle in the early parts of the third round.

“I always approach a fight as Jiu Jitsu first,” said De Ridder. “A lot of grapplers will fight and stand up in the first round and then the second round comes around and they remember, ‘Oh, I’m a grappler.’ I always come in the first round wanting to grapple; where I’m best at.”

Reinier De Ridder hails from the Netherlands. When asked about how his grapple first mentality came to be in a place like The Netherlands, which is such a kickboxing-heavy country (think names like Rico Verhoeven, Alistair Overeem and Gokhan Saki), De Ridder mentions he found grappling at an early age. “When I was young I found judo and did that for a while. As I got older, I fell away when I discovered other things like alcohol and girls,” De Ridder says with a chuckle. “Then I moved to a different city and was told by a friend about a BJJ gym. So I went and I was throwing people, I got some armbars and chokes, and I thought that Jiu Jitsu was bullshit and then it didn’t work. Then my friend called me and told me I went to the wrong gym. So I went to this other gym, which is a Renzo Gracie affiliate gym, and I was instantly hooked.”

Reinier De Ridder and ONE Championship

With the amount of grapplers signed by ONE Championship, Reinier De Ridder is a natural fit into a hypothetical grappling part of ONE Championship. When asked if he was attracted to being a double champ in MMA and Jiu Jitsu, De Ridder smiled at the idea but ultimately knows what he wants to do. “That would be cool,” he says. “But my focus in on MMA. Adding grappling is good and its good to see some of the names added to the roster and it would be cool to compete in grappling.”

For some time now, I’ve been screaming that the UFC is losing it’s grip on top talent and is worried more about their product than having the best stylistic matchups. When talking to Reinier De Ridder, one of those talents I believe could win the UFC title, I mentioned KSW double champion, Roberto Soldic, and Bellator champion Gegard Mousasi. He grinned and said, “It’s funny you say that. Mousasi, Soldic and I train together quite often. Soldic lives on the good side of Germany and is only three hours away from us so he will make that drive all the time to come train.”

Reinier De Ridder takes on Andre Galvao on March 25th at ONE X! Get the pay per view here!

 

 

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