Reinier de Ridder’s success has certainly not come overnight. The undefeated Dutch middleweight made his pro debut in 2012 and has defeated all 12 of his opponents.

But de Ridder, who challenges middleweight champion Aung La Nsang at ONE: ‘Inside the Matrix’ next week, says his journey towards this title shot began well before he became a professional fighter,

“This is what I’ve been working for basically my whole life. I’ve been on the mat since I was five years old, and this is going to be my crowning moment.”

Great fighter

Hailing from Holland the 30 year old knows a thing or two about kickboxers. His homeland has produced some of the greatest of all time and he is a fan of La Nsang’s striking style,

“He’s got a great right hand and a great right kick. He switches a little bit, and he’s got a typical Dutch kickboxing style,” he said.

The Dutchman is better known for his grappling and de Ridder has respect for La Nsang’s ability on the ground,

“He has great punches and great pressure, so he’s good all-around. And don’t forget he’s a good wrestler, too. He is good on the ground, as well. He is nobody to be taken lightly. He’s a great fighter.”

Putting on pressure

He is aware that striking is not his forte but says he has been working on what could potentially be an area of weakness,

“My striking is pretty basic. I put on the pressure, make (my opponent) walk backward and I take him down. I have some of the best strikers in the world around me and they’ve been teaching me a lot, so I’ve been making a lot of progress there,” he said.

De Ridder feels that this pressure will be particularly important if he wants to execute his game plan against the two division champion,

“The most important thing is pushing him back. I’m going to push him back, put him against the fence, take him down, use my judo and my wrestling and then get to his back.”

Straightforward strategy 

Some fighters like to keep their cards very close to their chests when discussing strategy. But de Ridder knows exactly what he wants to do and isn’t worried whether or not his opponent finds out,

“I’m going to take him down and choke him out. The guy is very tough. He is almost impossible to knock out. But everybody has a neck, and I can find it everywhere.”