Tarik Khbabez is looking to improve on an impressive performance at ONE: PURSUIT OF GREATNESS in Yangon on 26 October.
The Moroccan-Dutch kickboxer made a splash on his ONE Super Series debut with a knockout finish of Alain Ngalani at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER in Macau.
Now, he is set to return to ONE Championship with a kickboxing bout against his compatriot Ibrahim “Mr. Cool” El Bouni.
“We are from the same countries, Holland and Morocco, but only one of us can be the best, and that’s me,” Khbabez says.
“I want to be the ONE World Champion at light heavyweight and heavyweight, so winning in Myanmar is important.”
A SUPERKOMBAT Heavyweight World Champion, Khbabez finished Ngalani in the opening round of their kickboxing clash in June, and while he admits he was delighted to make his debut in the world’s largest martial arts organization, he was not entirely satisfied with his own performance.
“I have only one word for the show – amazing! Everything was really great and very professional,” he says.
“My performance was okay. I hadn’t fought for almost a year due to a hand injury, and Alain was my first fight back. I was heavy and too slow, but I won, so it’s okay.”
He might not have been impressed, but anyone who watched Khbabez in action certainly was.
His educated hands proved to be too much for the veteran Ngalani to handle, and his punching power was clear in his knockout victory – the 27th of his career.
El Bouni is no slouch himself. An A1WCC World Champion, he finished Andre “The Giant” Meunier at ONE: BATTLE FOR THE HEAVENS in July and has lofty ambitions of his own in ONE Super Series.
He is also a known entity to Khbabez, though he says he does not view him any differently to any other opponent.
“I know him, we have met, but [it was] nothing special,” he explains.
“It doesn’t matter at all for me. He is just another fighter I need to beat.”
Khbabez is targeting victory as he looks to embark on a run that not only establishes him as a top performer in ONE Super Series, but also propels him to World Titles in not one, but two weight classes.
“As I said before, I want to be the champion in two divisions, and most importantly, an example for my little boy so that he can be proud of his father,” he explains.
“There will only be one winner, and that’s me. This fight will be over in the first or second round.”