Inside the cage Aung La Nsang and Reinier de Ridder have been rivals. But with no prospect of the two men facing one another in a trilogy match they have become friends.

De Ridder got talking to La Nsang’s Sanford MMA coach Henri Hooft. The Two Dutchman bonded and the reigning ONE Championship light heavyweight and middleweight champion was invited to Florida to train with La Nsang and the team.

“I talked to Henri a couple of times when I was there in Singapore. He’s Dutch as I am, so it was easy talking to him. We had some meals together up there and he told me, ‘Why don’t you come over?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I might,’ and I brought my family and made it a trip.”

True pleasure

De Ridder went ahead and did just that. On a recent trip to the US he spent some time training at Sanford MMA and bonded with the mam he beat twice in ONE Championship title fights,

“They were very warm, very friendly, and very welcoming. So it was a true pleasure. Very nice people. Aung met my wife, met my kids. It was very nice.”

The topic of Vitaly Bigdash clearly came up. La Nsang is coming off a loss to the Russian in their trilogy bout and his reward for winning that fight was a shot at de Ridder’s middleweight belt.

Same page

They will face off at ONE 159 on July 22nd. De Ridder discussed the fight with La Nsang and it sounds like they are both on the same page,

“We talked about it a little bit. (He) told me that (Bigdash) was pretty massive and that he missed weight twice. But hey, there’s not a lot there that I didn’t see already in the videos before. He told me what I already know, that I’m going to dominate this guy.”

La Nsang also suggested that Bigdash might have stamina issues,

“What else did Aung tell me about him? Well, that he’s strong, muscular, but we can all see that stuff. And that he got pretty tired in the end and that was pretty visible as well.”

Having spent hours preparing to fight one another the two men are now sharing tips on pre fight preparation. De Ridder will be looking for the 16th win of his career at ONE 159 and it sounds like the undefeated Dutchman knows exactly what to expect.