When Stefer Rahardian joined his first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class 11 years ago at the age of 19, it never crossed his mind that he will never turn into a professional MMA fighter. Trash talks from another classmate that led into a friendly MMA sparring sparked his initial interest, and an amateur fight, but his resolve to turn professional came during ONE Championship’s first outing into Jakarta in 2011.
The Carlson Gracie Brown Belt was originally put as the headliner for ONE Championship’s 2013 show in Jakarta, but he had to pull out when he tore his ACL on training, which required surgery and a recovery period beyond his initial ONE Championship contract.
“The recovery process was slow and painful, but it allowed me time to think about my plans. During that time, I saw how the level of competition grew really fast, so I knew I had to make changes to my routine and step up my game and had something to show to ONE Championship to get back to their roster. That’s when Andrew Leone moved to Indonesia and I decided to train with him, and try to find as many local fight events whenever I can, which is not very often,” Rahardian stated.
After winning 2 fights in local promotions, he proceeded to win ONE Championship’s Indonesian flyweight tournament with 2 first round submissions, followed by a unanimous decision win against Liberian fighter Jerome S. Paye to earn him a fight against Eugene Toquero. The Filipino is the most seasoned fighter that Rahardian will face with 12 professional fights spanning from 2011, 6 of which were in ONE Championship.
“Needless to say, I’m excited with this fight! Toquero is by far the most experienced opponent I will face, and he had faced 2 title challengers and a former champion. When ONE offered me the fight like 6 weeks ago, I’d say grab the bull by the horn and take the fight. MMA fighters have limited time on their careers, so and opportunities to take your game to the next level doesn’t come that often, so I’ll take it as they come.”
“Toquero may have lost the last 2 fights by submission, while I had won most of mine by submission, but I wouldn’t be too cocky and say that I’ll quickly take him down at will and submit him. Anything can happen in MMA, and with experienced fighters like Toquero, I have to be prepared for anything, particularly those strong punches.”
When asked about the long term goals, the Bali MMA exponent was reserved on talking about his long term goal.
“Long term goals, well, of course all fighters want to be world champion, but I believe in taking things one step at a time and taking one fight at a time. Right now, my goal is just to prepare for this fight and win it. Then, I would like to be able to support myself with this profession and be able to take care of my aging mother. She has gone through so much in supporting me in my chosen career. At the very least, I would like to be able to give her a peace of mind and support her as much as I can.”
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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.
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