The saying ‘iron sharpens iron’ seems to have rung true for Reiner de Ridder and Gegard Mousasi. The pair are training partners and each helped the other prepare for recent defenses of their respective world titles.
The Dutch duo currently reign supreme in two of the world’s biggest MMA promotions. De Ridder holds both the middleweight and light heavyweight belts in ONE Championship, while Mousasi has the 185lb crown in Bellator.
‘The Dutch Knight’ submitted Kiamrian Abbasov at ONE: Full Circle, on February 25th. Mousasi, on his part, defended his belt with a first-round TKO against Austin Vanderford at Bellator 275 less than 24 hours later.
The ONE star was all praise for Mousasi in a recent interview with SCMP MMA.
“[He was] unbelievably valuable.” The 31-year-old added, “He teaches me so much stuff in the striking department. We go head-to-head twice a week. We nearly kill each other. I have a lot to thank this guy for – his entire team. There’s a lot of good guys there.”
The Dutch star also brought up how their sparring sessions would go.
“It’s always hard to talk about this stuff, but it definitely goes both ways,” the double field added. “It’s always great rounds. We go hard, but really teach each other a lot.”
The Dutch duo have certainly established their dominance in their respective organizations. UFC champion Israel Adesanya is widely considered the best middleweight in the world, but de Ridder is convinced that ‘The Last Stylebender’ would lose to either him or his compatriot.
Reinier de Ridder vs. Andre Galvao confirmed for ONE:X
‘The Dutch Knight’ has big plans for 2022. With a quick turnaround from his first successful middleweight title defense, the Breda-born star has been added to the ONE Championship 10-year anniversary show. The 31-year-old will take on Brazilian jiu-jitsu icon Andre Galvao in a submission grappling match.
Galvao is a five-time BJJ World Champion, a six-time ADCC World Champion, and has also competed in MMA. The Brazilian will be making his promotional debut, having signed a multi-fight deal with the organization back in November.
In the wake of beating Abbasov, the Dutch star said he wanted to compete in each of the four seasons this year. He’s set his sights on the heavyweight title and says he’s happy to take on champion Arjan Bhullar and interim champ Anatoly Malykhin on ‘the same night.’ Not stopping there, the 31-year-old has even offered to face Alain Ngalani in a Muay Thai fight.
Video: What makes Israel Adesanya invincible at middleweight!