Rico Verhoeven

GLORY heavyweight world champion Rico Verhoeven spoke to MMA PLUS before his title defence against Benjamin Adegbuyi at GLORY 22: Lille; which takes place Friday, June 5 from Stade-Pierre-Mauroy in Lille.

The 26-year-old champion will make his third world title defence, against the tough Adegbuyi. The Romanian was originally scheduled to face Anderson “Braddock” Silva at GLORY 21: San Diego, but an injury kept him out of that fight.

GLORY then announced he would face Verhoeven at GLORY 22, and the “Prince of Kickboxing” thinks it is a fair fight.

“He’s 3-0 in GLORY, I think he deserves it,” said Verhoeven. “He put up a good fight against Hesdy [Gerges]. I’m not quite sure if he won that fight because it was really close, but he got the win, he got the decision win so it was good for him.”

Verhoeven has only ever lost once in his ten fight GLORY career, and that was to kickboxing legend Semmy Schilt, however the young champion feels he can only improve as time progresses.

“I’m still young, I just turned 26 in April, so I’m still a young guy, I’m still a young champion so I think I’m still developing. I think I’m not even at my best right now, so over the years I am just getting better and better.”

Most recently, stand-out British fighter Chi-Lewis Parry had been calling for a fight with Verhoeven, stating to the world and the Dutch champion that ‘Chopper’s coming’. However “Chopper” lost in the finals to Xavier Vigney and any derailed any chance at the title any time soon.

Verhoeven reacted: “I was just checking the Twitter account, and there was no call out so probably he didn’t win the tournament,” he joked.

“I think he’s a big talent, I think he has a good future, but there is some work to do. So we’ll see what he has to bring, he’s a great athlete, and I like what he brings; but you’ve got to have a little more experience when you fight me.”

As for the future, there is one fighter who has recently called for a fight with “The Prince.” Badr Hari, one of the greatest ever to step in the ring recently stated it was now or never to face the best the sport has to offer. On the top of that list, the GLORY champion Rico Verhoeven.

“Of course, I’m ready. If the opportunity comes I’m there. So, let somebody bring that fight, I would love that fight, I would never deny it. I would take it with both hands, I would love it because for me in the end, that’s the only guy I haven’t fought in the game. But for me, what’s there to win?

“You know, I’m already champion the only thing that people say Is ‘oh well Badr is this, Badr is that’ but in the end Badr has never been champion. We’ll see what happens, it’s a time thing I think, maybe the fight will be there, maybe not.”

Verhoeven also spoke about being able to fight so close to home, his time in kickboxing, and potentially moving full time to boxing or mixed martial arts.