A new ONE Light Heavyweight World Champion was crowned at ONE on Prime Video 5: De Ridder vs. Malykhin on Friday, December 2. Unbeaten Russian star Anatoly Malykhin cruised to victory with a first-round knockout over Reinier De Ridder. Although he controlled the entire bout from start to finish, Malykhin had nothing but respect for “The Dutch Knight” following their battle inside the Circle.
“I think De Ridder is a really strong fighter, so he could have fought until the very last minute of it, and it’s not my job to stop the fight. I’m just here to finish it and give my all as long as I can, so yeah, it’s not my job,” said Malykhin.
The ONE Interim Heavyweight Champion looked fit and strong in the main event. If anyone believed it would be difficult for “Sladkiy” to make the light heavyweight limit, he proved them wrong. In the post-event interview, Malykhin said the weight melted off of him ahead of the bout, and he was able to eat whatever he wanted.
Following the dominant win, all eyes turned to ONE Heavyweight World Champion Arjan Bhullar. Since Malykhin arrived in ONE Championship, he has called for a shot at the gold. However, Bhullar has not defended the title since he won it, and the frustration has mounted with the Russian. He did not mince his words when talking about Bhullar.
“He’s just weak. He doesn’t deserve to be in ONE Championship because it just happens every single time, so he’s just a weak fighter,” said Malykhin.
Another heavyweight has grabbed the attention of the Russian, who gives him another option should the unification bout not come to fruition. BJJ legend Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida is lurking in the heavyweight ranks and awaiting his time to contend for the gold. Malykhin is aware of his presence and is already planning to meet him on the global stage in 2023.
“I like Buchecha. He’s a good guy. Maybe I’ll fight Buchecha next year. I really like him as a person, so I wouldn’t want to fight him, honestly. But if he keeps calling me out, of course, I will accept the fight. But he and De Ridder, I cannot compare them because he’s so much better than Reinier in jiu-jitsu. So if I happen to fight him, I will have to update my skills in jiu-jitsu,” said Malykhin.
With two World Titles, Malykhin will have no shortage of opportunities to compete against the best athletes in the world. And that is precisely what he wants to do. Whether he returns against Bhullar, Buchecha, or another athlete wanting a crack at his titles, Malykhin is healthy and looking to return early in 2023.