Roberto Soldic didn’t have the most pleasant experience in his highly-anticipated ONE Championship debut this past Dec. 2022.
The 28-year-old Soldic (20-3) entered the promotion riding high on a seven-fight unbeaten streak with two Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki (KSW) titles (Welterweight and Middleweight) on his resume. Unfortunately for “Robocop,” his ONE debut ended only three minutes into the action after he sustained an illegal knee to the groin from his opponent, Murad Ramazanov, resulting in a no-contest.
“For sure [it was the hardest nut shot in my life],” Soldic told MMA Mania. “A really, really hard one. I’m very sad because first fight in ONE Championship and that happened to me. I was ready for everything, but not for this, for a no-contest. It’s really stupid because I couldn’t continue because the hit was so hard. I was not 100 percent. When I went in the cage, I was 100 percent, but after this low blow, man, you are not there. I made a one-time mistake and I continued to fight, but I learned this is not my fault. The guy threw the knee that is impossible [to defend] in this position you can only hit in the balls.
“I was very sad because preparation and on that day, everything was good,” he continued. “Even when he took me down for 10 seconds, I got up. He felt my power, too. My wrestling and I just don’t know why he threw that knee. Maybe he didn’t control himself, I don’t know. This is adrenaline, I fight, I understand, but the guy is 16-0, [including] amateur fights, he knows what he’s doing. But wrestlers, they always go crazy. I don’t know. I’m focused on Kadestam. Murad is the past. I ordered a new cup, steel cup (laughs).”
Ideally, Soldic won’t need his steel cup going forward, but after past incidences, he knew health had to be prioritized. A rematch with Ramazanov instantly felt like an obvious move. Instead, ONE told Soldic right after his no-contest that it wanted him to compete at ONE Fight Night 10 on May 5, 2023. The show will act as the promotion’s debut on U.S. soil in Denver, Colorado, and can now provide an even bigger, and proper, debut for the former double champion.
Thanks to Soldic’s accolades in his career thus far, an instant title shot for his first ONE appearance wouldn’t have been a crazy thought and is arguably what should have happened. While the belt is certainly a goal, Soldic hopes to be the one to bring ONE to Croatia for another big location debut. First, he’ll have to get through the former 185-pound champion, Zebaztian Kadestam, and expects a Ramazanov rematch will come to fruition down the line.
“[Kadestam] was the former champ, he called me out before,” Soldic said. “He called me out when I went to Singapore and he broke his right hand with an uppercut from his last fight and they gave me Murad. So, he’s an undefeated guy from Russia, good wrestling, good everything. I accept the fight. I didn’t say I want Kiamrian Abbasov, who was the champ at the time. I just listen, I go to Singapore, we make the deal, doesn’t matter. The only question is what time do I get the belt?
“Kadestam was a ONE champion so this also means something because I just get the best guys,” he added. “Kadestam, Murad, I hope we meet with [the current champion] Christian Lee. I don’t know who will be the champ, but what ONE decides and when they give me the title shot, I’ll take it. My thing is to fight and they have to decide if I deserve it or not.”