Stefer Rahardian was last seen in action at ONE: ‘Dawn of Valor’ in 2019. He scored a decision win over Adrian Mattheis to get his career back on track after a wretched run of results.

The Indian strawweight would miss all of 2020 after suffering a knee injury. But he is ready to return and wants to take on a former champion Yoshitaka Naito,

“I want to face Naito next. He is one of the fighters in ONE Championship who possessed a spectacular record when he first signed with ONE, and he became the champion.”

Facing a legend

Rahardian won his first seven fights for ONE Championship, emerging as an unlikely title contender in the strawweight division. But he went on to lose his next four, a streak that culminated in a submission loss to former champion Alex Silva.

But the 34 year old still wants to test himself against the best and thinks Naito fits the bill,

“When he was defending his belt, he also achieved an impressive winning streak. Therefore, I would like to fight one of the legends in MMA, especially on the biggest stage.”

Extraordinary effort

Rahardian is so confident he will be offered the fight that he has already started thinking about how he will prepare for Naito,

“We do our preparation to perform at our best. I would put my best effort forward, especially when facing a legend. I will definitely try to be ahead in every aspect, grappling, striking or wrestling. But again, it has to be done with hard work and extraordinary effort with the team.”

Rahardian is a veteran of 12 ONE Championship fights and has won eight of them. At this stage of his career he sees no point in taking tune up fights against lesser names.

His focus is firmly on Naito but he stopped short of offering a specific prediction,

“I think I should do the preparation first and then we will see how it goes in the fight.”