ONE Championship top Indonesian strawweight Stefer “The Lion” Rahardian has had to deal with a plethora of injuries throughout his career that have hampered his performances.
After a full year of rest due to the COVID-19 pandemic that kept him sidelined, Rahardian is looking forward to a big 2021, free from the ailments that has plagued his time inside the ONE Circle.
“The biggest lesson I learned was how to rise from adversity. After suffering through an injury, in addition to the pandemic that hit the world, including Indonesia, I learned to see the positive side of every difficult situation,” said Rahardian.
“I want to be fully recovered a hundred percent injury-free in 2021. I have a lot of goals for myself, for Indonesia, for my team at Bali MMA, and for my family.”
Rahardian is one of ONE Championship’s top strawweight talents. He joined the promotion in 2017 and quickly administered an impressive run through the ranks that saw him rail off five straight victories.
In 2018, however, Rahardian began having various physical issues that kept him from operating at full capacity. As a result, the 33-year-old suffered the first loss of his career against Filipino Rene Catalan. Following that defeat, Rahardian dropped three more, and it seemed his career was on a downward trend.
In late 2019, Rahardian finally returned to his winning ways, claiming a much-needed victory against Indonesian countryman Adrian Mattheis.
A remotivated Rahardian 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,” said Rahardian.
“Many fans often ask me about when I will return to the ONE Championship arena. I want to show all MMA fans in Indonesia that I will be back better than ever. I want to bring honor and glory to my beloved country.”
Training under the watchful eye of coaches Andrew and Anthony Leone, and New Zealander Mike Ikilei, Rahardian is thankful he has a great support system to fall back on, one that hasn’t let him down no matter the result of his fights.
“I am driven to succeed for my Bali MMA family. I consider them my close family. They are always there to support me in victory and defeat,” said Rahardian.
“Because of the pandemic situation here, which requires everyone to follow strict protocols, I haven’t had a vacation since the health situation started. So I’m still working hard everyday here in Bali with my team.”
There is no timetable currently for Rahardian’s return to action. But before the day he steps back into the Circle, “The Lion” says he will continue to pound the pavement until he reaches his ultimate goal of becoming a ONE World Champion.
Until then, Rahardian will watch from the sidelines in what he believes will be an interesting year, beginning with a massive showdown between ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes and former UFC Flyweight World Champion Demetrious Johnson.
Johnson, the former UFC Flyweight Champion, challenges Moraes for the ONE Flyweight World Championship on April 7, in the main event of ‘ONE on TNT’, the promotion’s return to U.S. prime time.
As a fan, it’s a fight Rahardian is looking forward to watching.
“For me, this fight is very interesting and I’m really looking forward to it. I think DJ is going to win this one because he is a complete fighter. Adriano will also provide some good resistance. He’s very strong and he has what it takes to keep the belt. But I think DJ will come out on top,” Rahardian said.