Stefer Rahardian has had to wait a long time to make his full ONE Championship debut. The Indonesian had a fight booked on the promotion’s second ever event in Jakarta back in 2013, but had to pull out due to injury.
At ONE: Quest for Power on Saturday, he finally gets his opportunity and will be facing another veteran of the Indonesian martial arts scene in Jerome Paye. Both men earned purple belts in BJJ at the famous Synergy MMA Academy and Rahardian has a lot of respect for his upcoming opponent.
“He’s a tough guy. I think he is going to train hard for this upcoming fight against me. I don’t want to be lazy fighting this guy.”
Rahardian earned his spot on the card by winning a flyweight tournament that ONE Championship held in the Jakarta Convention Centre last year. It was a private event, but the experience should prove valuable for the 30-year-old, as he prepares to fight for the promotion in the exact same venue.
“I feel very happy for this opportunity to fight under ONE Championship because I’ve been waiting for a very long time for this opportunity. I’ve been working really hard in the training camp and when I won (the tournament) I was really happy.”
Rahardian has been training for this fight with Andrew and Anthony Leone at Bali MMA, but he is a Jakarta native and should have plenty of support on Saturday.
“I’m very excited to fight in Jakarta because Jakarta is my hometown and most people in Jakarta recognize me. It’s like a dream, I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for quite some time.”
Rahardian has a professional record of 3-0 with two of those wins coming at last year’s tournament. He’s been training for much longer than he’s been fighting though and says his career has been interrupted by injuries.
“I’ve been training MMA for five years (but) during that time I got injured and needed to rest and it took me a couple of months to fix my injury. MMA is my life, I’ve been working and training so hard to compete in MMA.”
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Although he and Paye have similar BJJ credentials the Libyan is also a Taekwondo black belt. Rahardian knows he will not be the superior striker but has devised a game plan that he hopes will allow him to get the fight to the ground.
“For fight against the striker I need to learn how to strike too (but) the most important is to learn how to defend myself and make this fight like a wrestling match. When I’m on the ground I always try to look for my opponent neck or I try to look for an opportunity to submit him. I’m always doing that.”
Winning that tournament last year was a hugely significant moment in Rahardian’s MMA career. Submitting two opponents in the space of a single night is no mean feat but the Jakarta native knew that more important than the medal he received was the future opportunities success would bring.
“All I could feel was the excitement for the next opportunity ONE is going to give me. When they gave me the medal I told myself I’m going to work hard for this thing, I’m going to work hard for the next level, the next fight. I’m going to work hard in everything I do until I’m the best.”
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