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HomeCruiseReinier de Ridder ‘underestimated’ Anatoly Malykhin ahead of knockout loss: ‘I needed...

Reinier de Ridder ‘underestimated’ Anatoly Malykhin ahead of knockout loss: ‘I needed a little bit of a wake-up call’

Reinier de Ridder launched his career with a perfect 16-0 record and started to think that he would always dominate his competition.
It was hard to argue with his logic considering de Ridder ran roughshod over two divisions in ONE Championship, amassing seven straight wins, five finishes, and a pair of titles along the way. Ahead of his last fight, de Ridder once again believed he was destined to dispatch another opponent when Anatoly Malykhin dropped down from heavyweight to take a shot at the light heavyweight title.
It took less than five minutes for de Ridder to pay for his hubris, as Malykhin blasted him with punches to score a first-round knockout.
Looking back now, de Ridder blames himself for that loss.
“To be honest, I kind of underestimated him,” de Ridder told MMA Fighting. “I was at a time in my career, being undefeated, having basically a lot of fights that went my way pretty easily, not to sound too arrogant or cocky. I never got hit basically before that fight. I was never hurt, never rocked. I had the feeling, this is just how fights go — I take them down, I choke them out.
“Obviously that wasn’t the case that time, and it was a lot of areas after I recovered and took some time off, found a lot of areas where I came up short. Made a list and kept checking them off this year.”
While he never suffered a knockout loss, reigning UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones has detailed his own experience looking past Alexander Gustafsson back in 2013 and how that served as arguably the biggest lesson learned of his entire career. He never underestimated another opponent and refused to do anything at half-speed when preparing for a fight.
As much as he wishes he didn’t have to lose to get there, de Ridder believes he traveled down a similar road as Jones when it came to disregarding a potentially dangerous opponent. Now he needs to make the best out of a bad situation in his rematch with Malykhin at ONE 166, which airs at 7 a.m. ET on Prime Video on Friday in the United States.
“That’s definitely the thing I’ve taken away from this,” de Ridder said. “Now I have the opportunity to make it a good thing. I’ve been grinding for it. I have the opportunity in front of me to make it a good thing. It’s s*** right now, but when I finish him, then it will all be good. It was just a little bump in the road and I’m off cruising again.
“But I definitely did the same thing [as Jones]. I underestimated him. I kind of got away from what makes me special. Got away from my obsession with technique, my obsession with getting everything as perfect as possible. I was working hard before the fight but not like I did before. Maybe I needed a little bit of a wake-up call, and I definitely got it.”
If de Ridder is successful on Friday in his defense of the ONE middleweight title, he’ll even up his series with Malykhin at one win a piece.
That could potentially lead to a trilogy fight, with Malykhin already holding both the ONE heavyweight and light heavyweight titles — but don’t suggest that to de Ridder right away.
After waiting more than a year for the rematch and obsessing at getting his chance at revenge, de Ridder hopes he’ll be able to move past Malykhin, at least for the time being.
“I don’t even want to hear the name Malykhin after this,” de Ridder said with a laugh. “Leave me alone! I need some fresh blood. Someone else after this one. He’s been on my mind for so long. We’ll see after March 1. But I don’t want to hear Malykhin in the year 2024 anymore.”
“That’s what I’m planning on March 1, [beating him] and then don’t ever say that name to me again.”

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