This Friday, dominant ONE lightweight kickboxing world champion Regian Eersel will carry his six-year unbeaten run into a clash for the inaugural ONE lightweight muay Thai world title.
When he battles Thai rising star Sinsamut Klinmee for the gold at ONE on Prime Video 3, the Surinamese-Dutch superstar will be looking to cement his reputation as one of the world's top pound-for-pound strikers.
If Eersel wins, that respect will be undeniable, as he would become a rare double-champ in the world's largest martial arts organization.
But after 19 straight victories – including a 7-0 run in ONE – "The Immortal" isn't feeling any extra stress to maintain his incredible streak.
"No, I don't feel pressure," he said. "Just because I have been able to do it for the last six years. And yeah, it motivates me a little bit. Yeah, I'm undefeated for six years. Not many fighters are undefeated in six years, so yeah, but I'm not thinking about that when I go inside of the circle. I'm just thinking that I have to win. I have to beat the guy in front of me."
While the soft-spoken competitor might downplay his impressive accolades, he certainly recognizes the massive opportunity in front of him.
For Eersel, becoming a two-sport World Champion would be more than just an individual accomplishment – it would also be an epic moment for the Surinamese people he represents.
"I feel like I am writing history if I also win the muay Thai world title," the 29-year-old said. "It will be so important for my country Suriname, for the people, and for my team. This is history-making, and if I am the first one to make this happen, then this is for the history books."
'The Immortal' isn't intimidated by fast-rising Sinsamut
Of course, Eersel will face a stiff test at ONE on Prime Video 3.
One of Thailand's top fighters, Sinsamut hails from a famous combat sports family and emerged as a breakout star in ONE Championship this year.
He stunned fans with a knockout of legendary striker Nieky Holzken at ONE X in March and then returned with a sensational KO of Liam Nolan four months later.
The Thai will enter Friday's world title fight with plenty of momentum and confidence, but Eersel is unfazed by all of that.
He said of Sinsamut:
"It doesn't intimidate me, but you know, he's from Thailand, and it is their sport, you know?
"So, I'm an outsider to them. But I'm not looking at it that way. When I am inside the circle, it is a different me. Someone else is in there, a monster, and I am going to haunt you. Then we will see who is the better guy."
Rather than thinking about what his opponent might bring to the table, the lightweight kickboxing king is focused on the factors within his control.
That means putting on another strong performance, overcoming another talented foe, and further establishing himself as an iconic name in the striking arts.
"I want to build my name, my legacy," Eersel said. "My name is 'The Immortal,' so I have to show them what the name means. The only way I can build my legacy is by having good fights, and good wins against the best guys.
"I'm building all of that, and that's in my mind when I go into the circle. This is the buildup, and this guy wants to destroy everything that I have built. And I am not going to let that happen."
As for a specific game plan, Eersel is staying relatively tight-lipped, not wanting to give away any valuable information.
He did, however, offer a general prediction for how this hotly anticipated showdown will play out.
"The Immortal" added:
"I'm going to dive in. We're going to play fire with fire. And we will see which one of us at the end is still burning."
This story first published at ONEFC.com.