ONE Championship Announces First Ever Triple-Champ Fight

Anatoly Malykhin will rematch Reiner de Ridder in a middleweight title fight at ONE 166 on March 1, 2024. ONE announced the matchup through social media.

Malykhin, the current ONE light heavyweight and heavyweight double champion, will have the chance to become the first simultaneous triple champion in a major MMA promotion when he challenges for De Ridder’s middleweight belt.

Malykhin is also responsible for De Ridder’s only professional defeat, stealing the Dutch fighter’s light heavyweight title in 2022. “Spartak” would acquire his heavyweight title by defeating Arjan Bhular in June 2023.

Does ONE 165 Result in a 3-Division Log Jam?

This booking has raised many concerns as Malykhin hasn’t defended his light heavyweight or heavyweight titles since winning them in December 2022 and June 2023 respectively. This will also be De Ridder’s first middleweight defense since February 2022, further adding to the lack of action at the top of the ONE roster.

Can Heavyweight Malykhin Even Make Middleweight?

Malykhin at heavyweight isn’t too far-fetched as ONE’s divisions are generally heavier than their counterparts in the UFC. ONE’s middleweight upper limit is 205 lbs, which is 15 lbs heavier than the 185 lbs upper middleweight limit in the UFC:

Weight ClassLower Limit (LBS)Upper Limit (LBS)Gender
Strawweight115lbs125lbsMale / Female
Flyweight125lbs135lbsMale / Female
Bantamweight135lbs145lbsMale / Female
ONE Championship’s weight divisions

Read more about the differences between UFC and ONE

So Malykhin going from heavyweight to middleweight is just like a UFC heavyweight cutting to light heavyweight – and with Malykhin’s 6′ frame, it should be feasible.

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Mathew Riddle MMA

Mathew Riddle

Mathew is a combat sports journalist & designer. His past bylines include Sports Illustrated, Heavy on UFC, Sport Skeeda, MMA UK, and MMA Sucka.