Growing up, Adrian Matheis was a wild child who had engaged in his fair share of street fights, and caused a bit of trouble in his home country of Indonesia.
Fortunately, the warrior known as “Papua Badboy" was able to calm down and turn his life around through his passion for martial arts. Now fighting in ONE Championship, the strawweight prospect hopes to inspire his fellow countrymen and be a role model for misguided Indonesian youths.
“I want to be a world champion in MMA, and give my best for my family and for my nation,” the 23-year-old states. “The eastern region of Indonesia is a hard region. Fighting on the street and violence are common there.
“I am motivated to show [my countrymen] that it would be better and more useful to have achievements through martial arts than fighting on the streets and hurting each other.”
The Indonesian will attempt to take a step towards his goal of becoming a world champion this coming Saturday Night, 11 March, when he meets Kritsada “Dream Man” Kongsrichai at ONE: WARRIOR KINGDOM. The event takes place at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
Matheis, who grew up in the Papua region as a son of a farmer and palm oil production worker, has been developing his MMA skills at Jakarta’s Tigershark Fighting Academy for the past five years under the careful eye of former ONE welterweight competitor Zuli “The Shark” Silawanto. His style is a blend of Yusikaindo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, boxing and judo.
Last August, he signed with ONE and made his debut at ONE: TITLES & TITANS, where he knocked out two consecutive opponents that night to capture the ONE Indonesia Strawweight Tournament Championship. It was an inspiring feat, to say the least.
He attempted to build upon that momentum two months ago at ONE: QUEST FOR POWER, but was stopped in his tracks when Rene “The Challenger” Catalan submitted him via rear-naked choke in the second round. Worst of all, it happened in front of all his compatriots in the Jakarta Convention Center.
“I made a fatal mistake by not playing to my game plan because I was very nervous and, finally, I could not control myself and my emotions. I did not hear my coach’s instructions from the corner,” Matheis admits.
His opportunity arrives Saturday Night against Kongsrichai, a Thai Wrestling Champion who also built momentum via a three-fight win streak, only to have it washed away with a loss to ex-title challenger Joshua Pacio seven months ago at ONE: HEROES OF THE WORLD.
“Dream Man,” as Kongsrichai is called, stares at a 4-3 record, and desperately wants to turn his luck around too. Matheis is confident he will be able to shut down the Thai’s game, especially since he has figured out how to keep his emotions under control.
“I see Kongsrichai is a wrestler, very resilient and strong. I am sure he will definitely try to take me down, but all the techniques I have learned have made me better,” he says. “I measured my strength in comparison to my opponent, and I predict I will win this fight.”