5 of the most promising heavyweights in the ONE Championship

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At the start of ONE Championship, his heavyweight division left a lot to be desired. It’s understandable. The average height of men in Asia is around 5 feet 7 inches. It’s a stark contrast to the six- to seven-foot behemoths that competed in other martial arts organizations at the time.

Today, however, this is no longer the case. ONE Championship has made strides to bolster its heaviest weight class with incredible talent from around the world. Now, the promotion’s heavyweight division is one of the most exciting in the entire organization.

Led by guys like reigning ONE World Heavyweight Champion Arjan ‘Singh’ Bhullar and former heavyweight king Brandon ‘The Truth’ Vera, the heavyweight division has given fans a handful of epic contests, especially over the past year.

There is no doubt about it. Fans love seeing two massive fighters collide in a steel cage, just to see what happens. Results are usually cut from epic material.

Fascinated by the giants of mixed martial arts? Let’s take a look at five of the most talented and promising heavyweight talents in the ONE Championship today.


#5. Dustin Joynson (ONE Championship record: 0-1)

Dustin Joynson has trained and fought for multiple organizations over the past 13 years and finally found his way into ONE Championship in January 2021.

The Canadian heavyweight entered as an undefeated fighter with six fights in his professional career, four of which did not reach the scorecards. At ONE: NextGen in October, he made his debut against fellow countryman Kirill Grishenko. At the end of the night, only one of them would stand with an unblemished record.

While it was Joynson who ended up on the losing end of the fight, he did well with a late rally that nearly helped him steal the win over his rival.

Although raising his hand wasn’t enough in the end to claim victory, the 34-year-old made sure to confirm his strike was legitimate by leaving visible damage on Grishenko’s face.

Let’s face it, Joynson is just starting to warm up. His first defeat could be a spark for the man to become even better when he enters the circle again.

#4. Kang Ji Won (ONE Championship record: 2-1)

Kang Ji Won, 26, from Korea, started his professional career in 2018. He has quickly made a name for himself as an exciting finisher since joining the ONE Championship in 2021.

The South Korean fighter didn’t fight beyond the first round through six fights and used his heavy fists to finish off his first five opponents. He also made a habit of scoring shocking finishes against fighters he was never meant to beat. In his first two fights in ONE, Kang stopped decorated wrestlers Mehdi Barghi and Amir Aliakbari.

At ONE: Winter Warriors in December 2021, Kang faced arguably the toughest opponent he’s ever faced in Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida, a living legend in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Their matchup was also made in the first round, but Kang would be the loser for the first time in his professional career.

‘Buchecha’ later admitted that he spent a lot of energy trying to knock his opponent out and almost thought he wouldn’t finish him then because of Kang’s heart.

With his dangerous hands already a threat, his loss to ‘Buchecha’ can only help ‘Mighty Warrior’ find ways to improve his takedown defense and become an entirely different animal the next time we see him in. The circle.


#3. Kirill Grishenko (ONE Championship record: 2-0)

Kirill Grishenko made his ONE Championship debut in April 2021 and has already put a stain on the records of two undefeated fighters.

The Belarusian giant started his professional MMA career in 2020. While he proved his hands can be dangerous, he actually started his martial arts career as a Greco-Roman wrestler, where he won two European championships, among other distinctions.

He showed off his wrestling prowess by controlling the fight against Senegalese wrestling machine Oumar ‘Reug Reug’ Kane on his way to stopping this freight train’s undefeated run.

Next, Grishenko’s punching skills were tested against hard-hitting newcomer Dustin Joynson. While it was his all-around skills that shone during their match, he showed he wasn’t afraid to stand up and punch against the best in the world.

His successful run earned him a shot at becoming ONE interim world heavyweight champion in just the second year of his MMA journey.

#2. Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida (ONE Championship record: 2-0)

Prior to his arrival at ONE Championship, Marcus Almeida built a legendary career in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

“Buchecha” has won 13 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Championships, including a record six in the openweight category. Former ONE world light heavyweight champion and Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend Roger Gracie previously held the record at three.

During his transition to MMA, he added new weapons to his game, but ultimately stayed true to his nature as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert.

In his first two fights in the promotion, he has already faced two forwards in kickboxing veteran Anderson Silva and rising star Kang Ji Won and defeated them both by submission in the first round.

Almeida’s optimism in asserting Brazilian jiu-jitsu in his MMA fights has drawn criticism, but may actually be good for the sport. It gives fans a chance to see what MMA was originally about, a battle between different martial arts disciplines.


#1. Anatoly Malykhin (ONE Championship record: 2-0)

Anatoly Malykhin is perhaps the most promising fighter to follow both in and out of the Circle.

The big Russian has finished his 10 professional fights in different ways and has proven that his wrestling and grappling are as deadly as his fists.

In his first two fights in the ONE Championship, ‘Sladkiy’ knocked out former ONE world title challenger Alexandre Machado and Iranian superstar Amir Aliakbari in the first round.

Meanwhile, outside of fights, Malykhin’s Instagram account shows a totally different side of the ONE Championship heavyweight, as he posts silly skits and other entertaining content with his family.

The 34-year-old has previously shared that he understands that being successful as a fighter isn’t just about winning matches, but winning the hearts of fans.

He could soon find himself shrouded in gold as he takes on Kirill Grishenko for the ONE Interim World Heavyweight Championship. He will undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with in the division, regardless of the outcome of the game.

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