Arian Sadikovic has been determined to get his hands on the ONE lightweight kickboxing world title since inking a deal with the organization last year.
And next Friday, April 22, the German phenom will get his golden opportunity when he challenges divisional king Regian Eersel in the main event of "ONE: Eersel vs. Sadikovic."
With only a single ONE Championship appearance under his belt, Sadikovic admits that his world title shot came sooner than expected.
However, he was thrilled to get the call and wants to make the most of his chance when he trades leather with the Dutch-Surinamese superstar at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
"I was surprised a little bit. I thought I needed to fight Nieky Holzken because he was No. 1 in the rankings," the 27-year-old said. "So I thought, 'OK, I will fight Holzken, and if I win, then I'll get a title shot.’ But that wasn’t the case.
"I was very happy when they told me I was getting a title shot. I told them, 'Of course, I want that.' Getting this title shot is definitely the best moment of my career. This is the best moment of my life fighting in this sport."
It won't be easy to dethrone Eersel, who’s already defended his belt three times and owns a staggering 18-fight winning streak.
But if Sadikovic can replicate the impressive performance from his promotional debut, he’ll be within touching distance of accomplishing his mission.
At "ONE: Winter Warriors II" in December, "Game Over" clocked in a near-perfect striking display versus former ONE lightweight kickboxing world title challenger and current No. 2 contender Mustapha "Dynamite" Haida.
The Fightschool Hannover and Team CSK representative attacked Haida with timely combinations and kicks that slowed him down as the match progressed.
And in the third round, the German dynamo started mixing up his arsenal, even driving in two stinging knees that forced "Dynamite" to wince in pain. In the end, all three judges awarded him a clear-cut unanimous decision.
With plenty of confidence from that triumph, Sadikovic is certain his aggression and technical ability can topple the reigning king. And with a prestigious accolade up for grabs, he’d love to grab the crown with an emphatic finish.
"My boxing skills are better (than Eersel's). I'm faster, but let's not talk too much about this," he added. "Let’s see on the 22nd. Some guys talk a lot, talk a lot of sh-t (before the fight), and they lose. So we will see on the 22nd.
"Like always, I'm a fighter who's going for KOs. The dream ending for me is a good right hand to his face and knock him out. That’s my dream."
Sadikovic open to MMA or special rules superfight
Sadikovic dreams of seizing the ONE lightweight kickboxing world title from Eersel and then ruling the division with an iron fist.
But even if he becomes the new king, the German striker wouldn’t mind taking a quick detour from kickboxing to test his arsenal in mixed martial arts.
After watching the epic mixed-rules clash between MMA great Demetrious Johnson and muay Thai megastar Rodtang Jitmuangnon at ONE X last month, Sadikovic joined the chorus of athletes who’ve expressed interest in a similar bout.
"I really want to defend the (lightweight kickboxing) belt for a long time – not just win it," he offered. "I really want to defend (the world title) as often as possible to make a name for myself. Later, I also want to switch to MMA."
"You know last time (ONE) made a special rules bout? Rodtang versus 'Mighty Mouse'? Maybe something like that for my first MMA fight. Maybe against (Eddie) Alvarez. I think this would be a really good matchup. I think it would be a really good fight."
Despite his plans for the future, the striking specialist made it clear that he's not looking past Eersel.
"Game Over" knows it will take an incredible performance to snap "The Immortal's" lengthy winning streak, and as his nickname suggests, he believes he’s the man to end his opponent’s dominant reign
"Of course, I'm focused on the world title. I'm not coming for jokes there," Sadikovic added. "That's the plan."
This story first published at ONEFC.com.