Reinier De Ridder has had an incredible six months. The undefeated Dutchman is the ONE Championship middleweight and light heavyweight champion and already has his sights set on the heavyweight belt.

It is a testament to how high the BJJ black belt’s standards are that he sounded slightly disappointed with a decision win over Aung La Nsang at ONE on TNT Part IV this week,

“I would have preferred choking him out but I got close a couple of times. It’s cool to show that I can go five rounds. It’s cool to show that I’ve got the cardio, the stamina. That I can take guys down every round and show my heart, my will on six day’s notice. Against a much heavier guy. A much-improved Aung. So I’m content with what happened,” he said.

Room for improvement 

De Ridder took the fight at very late notice and La Nsang outweighed him by nearly 5kgs. Despite these mitigating factors the Dutchman believes the performance left plenty of room for improvement,

“I was a little sloppy to be honest. I got him in the d’arce, I got him in the side choke. I got him in the rear naked choke and I just didn’t get it all the way but I’m happy with the way it unfolded. This bout is going to teach me a lot. I have a lot of tape to watch back and evolve my game even further,” he said.

De Ridder has a lot of respect for La Nsang and acknowledged that the former champion has made some major improvements since their first meeting,

“He was very strong this time. He was a lot stronger than last time. Last time he did everything, his defense was very sound as well. But his defense got even better and he got stronger so it was a bit of a struggle this time.”

Heavyweight plan

La Nsang has been one of the most successful fighters in ONE Championship history and has a huge fan following in Myanmar. But despite his opponent’s stellar reputation De Ridder was unwilling to entertain the idea of a trilogy,

“As I said, I respect the guy like no one else. But I’m happy to put this to bed man. Two wins? It’s done,” he said.

Instead, ‘The Dutch Knight’ has his eyes set on a third belt. In the wake of the fight, he called out the current heavyweight champion, Brandon Vera.

“Why not? It would be cool if it was Brandon Vera because he’s been the champ for a while and so it would be cool to take it from him. Two belts is nice but three belts is better.”

He feels he would have an advantage over the heavyweight champion in at least one area,

“He’s a great striker. His wrestling is alright but it’s not on my level. So it would be cool man, to fight for history again, to fight for my legacy. I hope we can make that happen,” said De Ridder.

Under the radar

The newly crowned double champion is now 14-0 and clearly one of the best middleweights on the planet. The 29-year-old probably hasn’t received quite the level of global attention he deserves and says it would be ‘nice’ to get more of a fan following,

“It’s alright. It would be nice to grow a little bit. But that’s not the goal man. The goal in my mind is to be the best. I did it again and I hope to keep on doing that. It’s nice to get some star power, some fame but it’s alright. It is what it is,” he said.

Rather than focusing on fame, De Ridder cares about results. He is very proud of having never lost a professional fight and his competitive spirit appears to be a key reason for his success,

“I’ve got an undefeated record to lose. That’s the most important thing to me. This has been the goal since the start. I want to be the best. I want to beat everybody that’s in front of me. So every bout is as important as the last one.”