Reinier De Ridder will return to the ONE Championship Circle at ONE Fight Night 10 on May 5. It will be his first time competing since his first career loss to Anatoly Malykhin, but he will return in a submission grappling super-fight against Tye Ruotolo. There was no depression for the Dutchman, who simply got back on his horse and got ready to return.
“There are two choices. After the fight, I could have chosen to go, ‘I’m so sad that this happened, little old me.’ But I’m a very fortunate guy. And I choose to do this for myself, and I’ll turn this into a positive. I know I can. I know I can beat this guy. And it’s sweeter to come back from this defeat,” said De Ridder.
“The Dutch Knight” admits he was perhaps too cocky heading into his match with Malykhin. He entered the ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship title defense as an unbeaten athlete who rarely even suffered damage. But now that he suffered his first loss, that aura of invincibility has been washed away.
And De Ridder knows he competes for himself. There is no false narrative or attempt to build a brand around his at-home life. He doesn’t use his family to complete his image. De Ridder competes because he loves the sport, nothing more, nothing less.
“I always used to think that I do this stuff for my kids, but I don’t really. I do it for me. I like to fight. I like the thrill. I like the excitement. Because I can care for my family with anything else, I can provide for them with all the other stuff I do. They would be fine. And they would have to miss daddy for weeks on end when I compete. I do this for me,” said De Ridder.
At the 1stBank Center, De Ridder and Ruotolo will hit the canvas in a compelling middleweight submission grappling contest. “The Dutch Knight” expects an explosive and entertaining battle and believes he and his opponent share the goal of never being boring. However, he thinks the cage will be one of the biggest x-factors in the matchup.
“I think we might be very similar. We hit a lot of the same moves. We both rely on our stand-up game. We’re both very into takedowns and different stuff. I think there are more similarities in our games than differences. But a big difference is I’m used to the cage, and I think both of them are looking to the future to start their MMA journey as well. So I think they might be cage wrestling for a little bit. But I’ve been cage-wrestling half my life,” said the ONE Middleweight World Champion.
As he prepares for the special showcase, De Ridder has found himself at New Wave Jiu-Jitsu in Austin, Texas. He has learned from John Danaher, Gordon Ryan, and many more. Even though De Ridder admits that Ruotolo has a technical advantage, he believes his size and recent training will allow him the ability to tap out the phenomenal submission ace.
The hunt for the finish is paramount for De Ridder. That is why he says fans should expect a fast-paced grappling war when he tangles with Ruotolo. No matter the result, “The Dutch Knight” plans to return in style for ONE’s U.S. debut.
“Explosiveness – I think you can expect that from both of us. We will both be hunting for submissions. We’ll both be hunting for the takedown. We’ll both be pushing the tempo and pushing the pace,” said De Ridder.
ONE Fight Night 10 takes place at the 1stBank Center in Colorado on Friday, May 5. The action begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Prime Video. The event is free for all U.S. and Canadian Amazon Prime members.