Zebaztian Kadestam has spent the majority of his career competing on the road. The Swedish fighter has grown accustomed to being either the underdog or the challenger.

He’s no stranger to titles. Kadestam held the PXC welterweight belt for several years but is still getting used to life as a champion,

“Now that I’m the champion, I feel I have to push a little bit harder because I know all these guys are coming for me. I feel my mentality has gone from ‘(I’m) chasing something’ to ‘these guys are coming to take something that is mine’,” he said.

Kadestam is ONE Championship’s reigning welterweight champion. He will be making the second defence of that belt in Jakarta this Friday.

Sole blemish

The sole blemish on his ONE Championship record came at the hands of Ben Askren. Aside from that defeat the 29 year old has beaten Luis Santos, Agilan Thani, Tyler Mcguire and Georgiy Kichigin with all four victories coming inside the distance.

The likes of James Nakashima and Cosmo Alexandre are waiting in the wings. Kadestam is conscious that, as the champion, he has a target on his back, and says it makes him train with even greater intensity,

“Nobody’s going to come and steal something from me so in every session there is a little bit more fire inside of me.”

At ONE: ‘Dawn of Valor’ he has been matched with Kiamrian Abbasov. The Kyrgyz welterweight is riding a three fight winning streak that includes a victory over Yushin Okami.

Ready for everything

Kadestam has a reputation for being an aggressive fighter who is more comfortable on his feet. He is hoping that Abbasov will be willing to stay in the pocket and engage,

“What I like is that he goes forward, and he mixes it up well. I hope he will stand with me, but I’m ready for everything,” he says.

The go-to gameplan when fighting Kadestam is to shoot for takedowns and stay away from the Swedish fighters powerful punches, kicks, knees and elbows. The champion hopes this won’t be the case on Saturday,

“I see he has good pressure. He has good hands and movement, he has power in his hands for sure but I believe I’m the better striker.”

Given that not one of Kadestam’s five ONE Championship bouts has gone the distance this isn’t exactly a bold prediction. But the 29 year old says that whatever happens in Jakarta it won’t involve the judges,

“I see this bout as a war. I think it’s going to take a few rounds, and then it’s going to end with a KO.”