When the news was announced that Roberto “Robocop” Soldic was testing free agency, the MMA community was enthralled.
A dominant champion across Europe, the 27-year-old’s desire to see what opportunities would arise proved to be an exciting scenario for many.
Ultimately, the Croatian powerhouse signed with ONE Championship this past August, and now, he will make his promotional debut in the main card opener against undefeated Russian Murad Ramazanov at ONE on Prime Video 5: De Ridder vs. Malykhin on Friday, December 2.
ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong deemed Soldic as the “hottest free agent in the world” upon attaining the welterweight MMA star’s signature.
“Robocop” enters the promotion with a multitude of accolades under his belt, including a double-champ reign at both welterweight and middleweight with Polish promotion KSW. The occasion isn’t something that Soldic is allowing himself to bask in, however.
Despite riding a seven-fight winning streak into ONE, his December debut is strictly business.
“[The plan is] just win. I don’t care how. Submission, points, KO, it doesn’t matter for me. I just want to win the fight. Be smart, be sharp, be fast,” Soldic said.
“People expect always KOs from me because most of my fights were finished by KO, so I guess I could surprise with a submission – I also have good jiu-jitsu.
“ONE has put me in the fire straight away against a very tough guy. I respect him a lot, but I can say that he’s never faced anybody like me. I’m something different.”
The “very tough guy” in question, Ramazanov, has been on a tear of his own. The Russian grappling sensation is 11-0 in his professional career, which includes his most recent victory over former ONE welterweight champion Zebaztian Kadestam.
Ramazanov has impressed so much, even his close friend and compatriot, UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev, predicted that he would soon win the promotion’s welterweight belt.
Soldic recognizes the challenge awaiting him on Friday night, but he believes the unblemished battler has yet to come across somebody with the talent and ability that the Croatian possesses.
”He’s a complete MMA fighter, like everyone today. Everybody knows jiu-jitsu, everybody knows wrestling, boxing, conditioning. People think I don’t train wrestling because I finished my fights in the stand-up, but I’ve done wrestling every day for 10 years,” Soldic said.
“[Ramazanov is] good in the wrestling, really good control, like every Dagestan fighter. He has a good single-leg, switching to the body lock. He has good conditioning. His stand-up is okay.
“When I’m in the cage, it will be different. Nobody expects my wrestling and power to be so good, and when they go in the cage and see it, it shocks them. I will give him problems and if you don’t watch out, it’ll be over quick.”