At GLORY 35 Benjamin Adegbuyi ruled supreme with two convincing victories by decision over, Hesdy Gerges and then Mladen Bretovac, in the final of the 4-man Heavyweight tournament at. On the special edition Rico vs Badr podcast that followed, it was strongly questioned if Adegbuyi will fight Ismael Londt for the interim GLORY heavyweight title in 2017.
Winning a 4-man GLORY tournament is standard procedure for any contender to secure a future title shot which, for Adegbuyi, would now be in the new year since the defending Heavyweight champion, Rico Verhoeven is headlining GLORY Collision on December, 10 against Badr Hari (in a non-title fight).
However, the last winner of the previous 4-man heavyweight tournament was the former basketball player, Ismael Londt at GLORY 29 (in April) who, still awaits his title fight with Verhoeven.
“The plans for Rico are in December end of this year. I think its very good for the kickboxing world the champion against Badr Hari. I think it’s really good for the kickboxing industry. I fight anyone but I have to fight Rico, you know. I won the contender tournament, I fought Hesdy in-between. I have to fight Rico so I wait for my date and then I’m going to fight Rico.”
“Mr Pain” was supposed to be fighting Verhoeven in December for the title but this was before the date for GLORY Collision was confirmed. Although Londt wasn’t too fussed at the time whether he’d challenge Verhoeven either, before or after the champion’s clash with Hari, he was insistent that he fights the champion having won the GLORY 29 tournament.
With the recent turn of events mainly, ‘Rico vs Badr’, finally colliding with one another next month and Adegbuyi winning the 4-man tournament over the weekend; the Heavyweight division has been plunged into a deep sea of uncertainty whilst simultaneously, igniting the the highest level of global attention in the sport since the “Golden era.”
Has the “evil genius” of kickboxing, Badr Hari, already tarnished the GLORY Heavyweight title without even punching Rico Verhoeven in the face which, is one of his intentions, as he announced at the GLORY Collision press conference?
“I’m a street fighter and money is what motivates me into the ring. Cor Hemmers, get ready for Rico to lose this fight, because the value of the belt will be zero when he loses.”
‘The worst kept secret in kickboxing’ has been the on and off speculation that it is only a matter of time before Rico Verhoeven leaves kickboxing to pursue a career in MMA and that the eyes of the UFC have been carefully watching the Dutchman from afar.
Verhoeven has already made his MMA debut in October, 2015 with a TKO win over Viktor Bogutzki. Also, the GLORY champion has competed in past ‘No Gi’ grappling tournaments (with some degree of success) in Europe whilst he was actively developing his kickboxing career. It would be fair to assume that MMA could very well be the next challenge for Rico after having dominated kickboxing in the last three years with, 11 wins and only one unanimous decision (UD) loss to, Andrey Gerasimchuk.
If Verhoeven moves to the more rewarding world of MMA after his GLORY Collision with Badr Hari, even in a gradual transition from one rule set to the other then we could possibly have, the winners of the last two heavyweight tournaments, fighting each other for a version of the GLORY Heavyweight title in 2017. Whether this could initially be for an interim title or not, only time will tell but Adegbuyi has previously defeated Londt by unanimous decision in August, 2013 and a rematch between them would be explosive.