UFC kingpin Islam Makhachev hails ONE triple champ Anatoly Malykhin as ‘most dangerous guy on the planet’

Newly minted three-division ONE world champion Anatoly Malykhin has received some high praise from a UFC superstar.

“Sladkiy” became the first MMA athlete in history to win world titles in three separate weight classes on March 1. On that day, he stopped ONE middleweight MMA world champion Reinier de Ridder in the third round of their ONE 166: Qatar main event bout.

With the historic victory, the Russian powerhouse added De Ridder’s middleweight belt to his ONE heavyweight and light heavyweight crowns, capping an unprecedented run that saw him drop 25 kilograms in search of more gold.

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In the days following Malykhin’s achievement, UFC lightweight world champion Islam Makhachev took to his Instagram story to hail his compatriot.

“Most dangerous guy on the planet,” Makhachev wrote alongside an image of Malykhin posing with his three 26-pound gold belts.

It’s another huge feather in the cap of Malykhin, given that Makhachev is the UFC lightweight king and sits at No.1 in the promotion’s pound-for-pound rankings.

Malykhin was overcome with emotion. Credit: Instagram

Makhachev’s sentiment was shared by ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, who reiterated his willingness to pit his charge against any heavyweight in the world.

“There’s no question Anatoly is the greatest heavyweight on the planet,” Sityodtong said at the ONE 166 post-fight press conference.

“He would take Francis Ngannou down and smash him.”

Malykhin is undefeated in his professional MMA career so far. The 36-year-old has ended all of his 14 fights inside the distance, six of which have come under the ONE banner.

After reeling off three knockouts to start his ONE tenure at heavyweight, the hulking Kemerovo native shocked the world when he moved down to light heavyweight and snatched the divisional crown from De Ridder in a one-round demolition in 2022.

He then added the ONE heavyweight MMA world title to his collection with a third-round TKO win over long-time champion Arjan Bhullar in 2023 before stepping down two divisions to unseat De Ridder once again – this time at middleweight.

Whether he can continue to repeat the feat and defend all of his belts remains to be seen, but Malykhin himself has left the door open to potentially clearing out the three divisions that he now reigns over.

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