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Jakarta Post

Stefer Rahardian vows 2021 resurgence, '100% injury-free'

  • News desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, January 5, 2021   /   05:34 pm
Stefer Rahardian vows 2021 resurgence, '100% injury-free' Top Indonesian MMA strawweight Stefer Rahardian (left) is all eyes on his opponent's moves during a ONE Championship bout. (The Jakarta Post/ONE Championship)

Stefer “The Lion” Rahardian of ONE Championship has had to deal with a plethora of injuries throughout his career that have bogged down his performance.

After a full year of rest that kept him sidelined last season, the top Indonesian strawweight mixed martial artist is looking forward to coming back strong in 2021, free from the injury that has plagued his time in the ONE Circle.

“The biggest lesson I learned was how to rise from adversity. After suffering through injury, in addition to the pandemic that hit the world, including Indonesia, I learned to see the positive side to every difficult situation,” said Stefer.

“I want to be fully recovered [to] one hundred percent injury-free in 2021. I have a lot of goals to fulfill,” he added.

Among ONE Championship’s top strawweight talents, Stefer joined the association in 2017 and quickly delivered an impressive rise up through the ranks that saw him roll out five straight victories.

In 2018, however, he began having a variety of physical issues that kept him from performing at full capacity and ultimately led the 33-year-old to experience the first loss of his career, against Filipino Rene Catalan. He dropped three more bouts following that defeat, and it seemed his career was on a downward slope.

He then returned to his winning ways in late 2019, claiming a much-needed victory against compatriot Adrian Mattheis.

A reinvigorated Stefer has since promised fans to continue his resurgence.

“I was happy to be back on the winning track again. It has motivated me even more to be better and to develop myself so I can achieve greater things,” he said in a press statement The Jakarta Post received on Tuesday.

Training under the watchful eyes of coaches Andrew and Anthony Leone as well as New Zealander Mike Ikilei at Bali MMA, Stefer is thankful he has a great support system to fall back on, one that hasn’t let him down no matter his fight results.

“I am driven to succeed for my Bali MMA family. I consider them close family. They are always there to support me, in victory and in defeat,” he said.

“Because of the pandemic situation here that requires everyone to follow strict protocols, I haven’t had a vacation since the health [emergency] started. So I’m still working hard every day here in Bali with my team.”